NIGERIA | Death of Abducted Church Leader Confirmed


Date:                      December 14, 2021


The death of a church leader who had been abducted from his farm in central Kaduna state was confirmed. Rev. Dauda Bature, senior pastor of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Church Hayin Nariya in Igabi Local Government Area (LGA), was abducted Nov. 8 from his farm in Ungwan Kanti. His wife, Haddasa Bature, was then abducted Nov. 18 when she attempted to deliver the ransom she had negotiated with the terrorists for her husband, and which they subsequently claimed was insufficient.
Mrs. Bature was released Dec. 6 following a further ransom payment. However, when the church secretary, who had been negotiating with the abductors, called them two days after they claimed to have released Rev. Bature, they said he had died a while ago.
Since 2015, thousands have died and tens of thousands have been displaced in a campaign of attacks on predominantly Christian communities in central Nigeria by assailants of Fulani origin, for whom religion is increasingly either a recruitment factor or a governing ethos. Kaduna state has become an epicenter for kidnapping and banditry activity as communities have suffered relentless attacks since 2011, with a significant uptick in 2015 characterized by a steadily rising number of abductions and murders of clergy and church goers.
For example, on Oct. 31, gunmen attacked the Emmanuel Baptist Church at Kakau Daji in Chikun LGA, killing two people and abducting 66 others. The abductors, who demanded a ransom, released a video Nov. 6 in which they stated they were targeting Christians deliberately, and shot five young men selected at random, three of whom died. The remaining captives were freed Dec. 4 following payment of an undisclosed ransom. In an earlier incident on Sept. 12, the shot and mutilated body of Rev. Silas Yakubu Ali, senior pastor of ECWA Kibori-Asha Awuce in Zonzon District Church Council (DCC), was found less than a mile from his home in southern Kaduna. 
The violence has rendered rural communities unsafe and is increasingly affecting the Kaduna state capital. In the early hours of Dec. 11, an attack on Sabo GRA in the Chikun LGA of Kaduna Metropolis was ultimately repelled. However, a woman and her four children were reportedly abducted by the attackers from Oil Village, which shares a boundary with Sabo GRA. Around 24 hours earlier, a security operative was reportedly abducted along with his wife and baby from the nearby area of Ungwan Bulus. According to figures compiled by the Kaduna state government, 343 people were killed and 830 were abducted between July and September 2021, while a total of 545 people were killed and 1,723 abducted between January to June. Among the latter are three students from Bethel Baptist High School who have been held by their captors since July 5.
The ongoing violence affecting farming communities in central Nigeria has been insufficiently addressed, and has metastasised, occasioning similar death and displacement in Muslim communities of Hausa ethnicity in northwestern states, and a general rise in abductions for ransom across the country by assailants of predominantly Fulani origin
On Dec. 9, at least 15 worshippers were killed in an armed attack on a mosque in Ba’are village in Mashegu LGA, Niger state. On Dec. 7, around 23 people travelling from Sokoto state to Kaduna state in a commercial bus were shot and burnt alive as the vehicle they were travelling in was intercepted on the Sabon Birni-Isa Road by assailants who reportedly stood watching their victims burn to death.
CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said, “Our heartfelt prayers and condolences are with Rev. Dauda Bature’s family and congregation, and with all those who lost loved ones in the violence in recent days. Mrs. Bature’s ordeal is a grim example of the unimaginable grief, hardship and uncertainty inflicted on families in Kaduna state, at the heart of this crisis of lawlessness. We continue to call for a holistic security plan to defeat this threat and to enable civilians to go about their lives in safety. These levels of insecurity constitute a national emergency, and we appeal to the Nigerian government to address every source of violence urgently, in order to arrest the country’s progressive decline into failed statehood.”

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