A proof-of-life video of Pastor Zongo in captivity released by another Islamic terrorist group, the Khalifah Army, has been widely circulated online. It’s unclear whether the Khalifah Army has ties to either ISWAP or Boko Haram. In the Hausa language, the pastor asks the Nigerian government, his church denomination (Church of Christ in Nations) and the Christian Association of Nigeria to work toward their release.
“I’m appealing that you all do all that is possible to secure our release from captivity,” he says on the video.
See why Nigeria is No. 12 on Open Doors’ World Watch List.
Nigerian Christian leader Gideon Para Mallam told the Christian Post that the video included extensive detail, and that the militants had not yet asked for ransom—possibly indicating future plans to kidnap more Christians as they visit family in northern Nigeria in the days leading up to Christmas.
“The church needs to be wise and not walk into a booby trap set by them,” Mallam cautioned. “We can celebrate Christmas anywhere. Let’s avoid becoming easy prey.” In recent weeks, a false rumor of Pastor Zongo’s release circulated, reportedly originating from an unidentified source on WhatsApp.
Mallam issued a call for fervent prayer, saying they had been sold fake news: “Unfortunately, we fell for it. We believed that maybe there was some truth in this. But there was not. You can imagine the harrowing pain his wife and children and friends are going through right now.
“I appeal to everybody, Christians in Nigeria and the international community, that we will double our prayer for the release of Zongo. Pray that God will do a miracle.