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Nigeria: Sunday worshippers killed during fresh attack on Churches

Three people have been killed and others have been kidnapped during an attack on a Baptist and a Catholic Church in Nigeria over the weekend.

The news of the attack on Sunday worshippers in the north-western state of Kaduna was confirmed by the Kaduna State Government (KDSG) – who also said that two people had been injured in the attack.

Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, confirmed the incident. He said: “On a sad note, security agencies have reported to the Kaduna state government that bandits attacked worshippers and locals at Ungwan Fada, Ungwan Turawa and Ungwan Makama in Rubu general area of Kajuru local government area”.

According to the report, bandits stormed the areas on motorbikes before attacking worshippers in the Maranatha Baptist Church and St. Moses Catholic Church in Rubu village.

“Three locals have been confirmed killed in the attacks, and two persons were left injured – one of them a man and a yet-to-be-identified woman”, Aruwan said.

A yet to be confirmed number of local people were also kidnapped in the horrifying attacks, according to reports. 

Aruwan also said that the attackers “looted shops and carted away some valuables from the villages”.

According to The Nigerian Guardian, Acting Governor of the state, Dr Hadiza Balarabe expressed deep sadness at the news, denouncing the attack “in the strongest terms”.

Dr Balarabe sent her condolences to the families of those who were killed, as she also vowed to “pray for the repose of their souls”.

Aruwan, according to the outlet, also said the Acting Governor “commiserated with the attacked churches and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured”.

He added that security patrols had been introduced to the area as investigations are ongoing.

Kaduna Command Police also confirmed the incident, explaining that the brutal attack occurred yesterday while worshippers were in Church.

‘HOW MANY MORE MUST DIE?’

The latest attack against Nigerian Christians follows the slayings of 22 people at St. Francis Catholic Church in the Ondo state in the southwest of the county on 5 June. Nigerian authorities came under pressure to take concrete action to avoid future massacres following the killings just over two weeks ago.

Five children and a police officer were among the dead in the attack on Catholic worshippers, which also took place during Sunday mass. Survivors described the massacre, saying that gunmen bombarded Catholic mass-goers with bullets during a 30-minute-long attack.

Church members, locals, officials, and many Nigerians expressed sadness and anger as thousands of people watched a state funeral for the victims last Friday.

Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu blasted the attacks, saying at the time:

“We have failed to defend these people – not because we are not trying but because the forces on the other side are evil and they have support”. 

In the wake of the Ondo attack, the Nigerian security council said it suspected the gunmen had links to Islamic state West Africa Province, a branch off the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram – who have waged a decade-long tirade of violence in north-eastern Nigeria.

Nigerian authorities have been accused of inaction when it comes to the murder of Christians, with Bishop Jude Arogundade of the Ondo Catholic Diocese this month accusing Nigerian authorities of making “all these empty promises” to find the killers.

 “This country, you don’t have shame any more,” he said. “You just talk, you don’t match your talk with words,” the bishop said, urging attendees at the funeral to “claim this country back from those destroying it”.

Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo of the Oyo Catholic Diocese pointed out that the attack at the beginning of the month was not an isolated incident, and said that similar horror was “happening all over” Nigeria, as he called on President Muhammadu Buhari and government leaders to “wake up, sit up, and secure lives and properties all over Nigeria”.

“How many more must die? Does life really have any value any more with you? Is the glaring weakness and helplessness of our security agencies ill or deliberate?” Badejo asked.

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