In a horrifying incident on the evening of September 7th, assailants in an area of Nigeria, where Fulani terrorists have been operating freely, set fire to a Catholic seminary student, resulting in his tragic death during a failed kidnapping attempt.
The shocking attack took place around 8 p.m. at the rectory of St. Raphael’s Catholic Church in Fadan Kamantan, located in southern Kaduna state under the Kafanchan Diocese.
According to reports from news outlet ACI Africa, the terrorists had targeted the home of the parish priest, Reverend Emmanuel Okolo, for abduction. However, unable to gain access to the residence, they resorted to setting it ablaze.
The priest and his assistant narrowly escaped the inferno, but tragically, seminary student Na’aman Danlami, aged 25, lost his life in the blaze, as reported by Bishop Julius Yakubu Kundi of Kafanchan during an interview with charity organization Aid to the Church in Need.
Rev. Williams Kaura Abba, an area priest who had taught Danlami at the St. Albert Institute, conveyed the heart-wrenching news, urging prayers for the fallen student. He recounted, “The bandits went for a kidnapping spree. Two priests in the burnt house were able to escape. The seminarian was trapped. The bandits set the rectory ablaze. Na’aman Danlami, the seminarian, died of asphyxiation and suffered severe burns. May God rest the soul of this martyr.”
Andrew Timothy, a local resident, confirmed that Danlami’s remains were transported to a mortuary. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State Chapter’s Chairman, Rev. John Hayab, expressed deep sorrow over the continued insecurity in the region, stating, “It is sad that killings and this type of evil against Christians are still going on in spite of our appeal and pleading to the Nigerian government to take measures towards ending these attacks.”
Disturbingly, this tragic incident adds to a series of violent incidents targeting the Christian community in Nigeria. In 2022, four Catholic priests were killed, and 28 were kidnapped. In the current year, 14 Catholic clergymen have been abducted, according to reports from Aid to the Church in Need.
Nigeria gained a notorious distinction in the global context, leading the world in the number of Christians killed for their faith in 2022, with a staggering total of 5,014 casualties, as documented in Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List (WWL) report. The country also witnessed the highest number of Christians abducted (4,726) and subjected to sexual assault, harassment, forced marriages, physical and mental abuse, and attacks on homes and businesses for faith-based reasons. Additionally, Nigeria ranked second in terms of church attacks and the number of internally displaced people.
In the 2023 World Watch List, which ranks countries where it is most challenging to practice Christianity, Nigeria surged to sixth place, marking its highest-ever ranking and a jump from its previous position at number seven. The report underlines the ongoing violence inflicted by various militant groups such as the Fulani, Boko Haram, and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) on Christian communities in Nigeria. These attacks include killings, maimings, rapes, and kidnappings, often for ransom or sexual slavery.
The report highlighted the concerning trend of this violence spilling over into the Christian-majority southern regions of the nation. Furthermore, it emphasized that Nigeria’s government continues to deny the religious persecution occurring within its borders, allowing violations of Christians’ rights to persist with impunity.
It is essential to note that the Fulani people in Nigeria, who predominantly follow Islam, encompass a diverse range of clans and lineages. While the majority do not hold extremist views, some factions within the Fulani community have adopted radical Islamist ideologies. The United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) pointed out in a 2020 report that these radical elements employ tactics similar to those of Boko Haram and ISWAP, specifically targeting Christians and symbols of Christian identity.
Christian leaders in Nigeria have repeatedly expressed their belief that the attacks by herdsmen on Christian communities in the country’s Middle Belt are motivated by a desire to forcibly seize Christian-owned lands and impose Islam. This is exacerbated by challenges such as desertification, which has made it increasingly difficult for these herdsmen to sustain their herds, prompting them to resort to violence as a means of asserting control.
Original News Source: Morning Star News