Pray! Nigerian church leaders and two boys kidnapped by extremists

June 1, 2022 by Tim Dustin in Persecution updates

At midnight, on May 25, armed men broke into a church in Katsina State, Nigeria, and kidnapped a priest and his assistant, Fr. Stephen Ojapa, MSP and Fr. Oliver Okpara, as well as two boys who were there worshipping. It’s currently unknown where they’ve been taken to and what their condition is. 

It’s unclear if the kidnappings are connected to the vandalism at multiple Catholic churches in the area following the arrest of suspects in the murder of Deborah Yakubu on May 12 (Deborah Yakubu was the Christian college student who was beaten and stoned to death by Muslim students because she had declared her faith in Jesus). 

The continued abduction of Christians (and others) in areas of northern Nigeria is causing untold suffering. 

Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe of Makurdi, Benue State, issued a statement on May 20 questioning why the Nigerian government continues to remain silent amid persistent attacks in the West African nation. 

“Sadly, we continue to draw the attention of the outside world to the plan by Islamists to Islamize Christian territories countless times with little or no attention paid to our cry and call for help,” Anagbe said. “Sometimes, it appears we have been abandoned to the mercy of the jihadists.” 

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Nigeria needs our fervent prayers. Let’s pray those taken by the kidnappers are released swiftly and without incident, let’s pray the kidnappers will face justice that will thwart others from acting in the same way, and let’s pray for the restoration of a broken country—that God will hold the Nigerian people in His hands, and they will feel His comfort and the depths of His love for them. 

Lord, our brothers and sisters in Nigeria need Your healing and strength; please bring healing to the deepest hurts of a country that cries out to You.

Image courtesy of VaticanNews.va (as seen, Fr. Stephen Ojapa, MSP on the left and Fr. Oliver Okpara on the right)

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