Islamic extremists in southern Nigeria abducted four nuns on Sunday, three days after suspected Fulani herdsmen shot dead a Christian lawyer in the northwest of the country, according to reports.

Benedict Azza, Director of the Legal Department of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Zamfara State Chapter, was killed on 18 August. Two gunmen shot him in Gussau, capital of Zamfara state, residents told Morning Star News.

According to media reports, the gunmen tried to kidnap Azza, but he escaped in his vehicle. The alleged kidnappers chased him and shot him three times, leaving his body in the road.

“His corpse was left on the side of the road in the city,” Luka Maitausayi said in a text message to Morning Star. He claimed the gunmen were Fulani herdsmen. “It is our prayer that God comforts his family and the church.”

Azza was from Yelewatta, Makurdi, Benue State. He attended the University of Jos and the Nigerian Law School in Kano in 2008. He was married to Izuagie Rachael and the couple were blessed with children, according to the Daily Post.

As CBN News has reported over the years, Fulani herders, also known as the Fulani militia, are often radical Muslims who target Christians in their relentless attacks on villages across the South African country. ‘West.

They were early adopters of Islam, participating in holy wars or jihads in the 16th century that established them as a dominant social and economic force in West Africa, according to WorldWatch Monitor.

Four Catholic nuns kidnapped

Meanwhile, in Imo State in southeastern Nigeria, Islamic extremists working with Fulani herdsmen abducted four Roman Catholic nuns as they traveled in the Okigwe-Umulolo area.

Johannes Nwodo, Christabel Echemazu, Liberata Mbamalu and Benita Agu were abducted while “on their way to a thanksgiving mass of one of our sisters”, according to Reverend Sister Zita Ihedoro, general secretary of the Sisters of Jesus the Savior. “We implore intense prayer for their speedy and safe release.”

Nigerian government accused of failing to protect Christians

Emmanuel Onwubiko, the national coordinator of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), said the recurrent murders and kidnappings of Christians in Nigeria are a sign of failure for President Muhammadu Buhari.

“It is worrying that despite the murder of more than 12 Catholic priests in 2022 and the kidnapping of dozens of Catholic priests across the country, the current regime and security agencies have allowed the ugly trend to continue,” Onwubiko said in a statement.

The Nigerian government’s inaction is not the only concern. The Catholic News Agency reports that the regime is going after a journalist who reported on a massacre of Nigerian Christians.

Luka Binniyat wrote an article accusing the Nigerian government of failing to protect Christians, and now he has been arrested after this report. The government accuses him of “cyberharassment”.

Robert Destro, former assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor in the Trump administration, told CNA that the Nigerian government is working to crack down on journalists who report on the killings of Christians.

Persecution of Christians in Nigeria Grows Further

According to Open Doors’ 2022 Global Watchlist, Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith last year (October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021) with 4,650, compared to 3,530 the previous year.

The number of kidnapped Christians was also the highest in Nigeria, at more than 2,500, up from 990 the previous year, according to the report.

In addition, Nigeria is second only to China in the number of churches attacked with 470 incidents.

Nigeria jumped to seventh place, its highest ranking ever, in the World Watch List, from No. 9 the previous year.

“Christians continue to be indiscriminately and brutally attacked in northern Nigeria, and Nigeria’s rank has risen accordingly,” the report said. “The violence continued unabated.”

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