A Catholic priest was kidnapped and murdered last week in northern Nigeria by a group of unidentified armed men who first asked for ransom money from the priest’s diocese before killing him.
Fr. John Gbakaan, the parish priest of the Saint Anthony Church in Gulu, in the diocese of Minna was found dead on Janujary 17, 2021 alongside the road from Lambata to Lapai in the state of Niger, according to the Catholic missions website fides.org.
Gbakaan, his brother, and another priest had gone to visit his mother in a neighboring state. The trio was ambushed and abducted by armed assailants on January 15 during their return trip.
At first, the kidnappers asked for a little more than $78,000 in ransom and later reduced the amount to a little more than $13,000. There has been no further information on Gbakaan’s brother and it’s assumed he’s still being held by the kidnappers.
Eventually, Gbakaan’s body was found on January 17 near the site of the kidnapping. Fides.org reported that the priest had been allegedly murdered with a machete in such a way that made identification of the body difficult. Gbakaan’s vehicle was also found near the site of the killing.
In response, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked the Nigerian government to stop the abduction and killing of Christian leaders by people they describe as Boko Haram.
As CBN News reported last October, an American missionary abducted by six gunmen on October 27, 2020 was rescued during a US military operation in Nigeria.
The abduction follows multiple incidents in 2020 involving Fulani militants throughout the state of Nigeria. The Fulani are Muslims and also target Christians in response.
A coalition of British parliamentarians launched an extensive study into violence there and found that Islamist Fulani herdsman killed more than 1,000 Christians in 2019 and 6,000 since 2015, during tribal conflicts.
It is especially dangerous and cruel and that this is very close to what the secular media would call a genocide. Since the Arab Spring, millions of Muslims have been killed in Africa and the Middle East.
However, the oil-rich nation of Nigeria is ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution. A list in which countries Muslims are being assassinated does not exist.
The Christian Perspective / ABC Flash Point WW III News 2021.