By Tim Jackson
Footage has emerged of some 50 kidnapped Christians in northwest Nigeria begging for release from captivity, while one priest among their number is understood to have died after being deprived of treatment for asthma.
The Christians have been kidnapped over the past three months in separate attacks by Fulani Islamists. One terrorist says “these are all Christians in Nigeria and we are going to kill them,” before a woman stands up to plead for help.
“The governor should pity us that we Christians in southern Kaduna, we are in trouble,” she says in the ransom video. “This is a situation whereby even if you are in the church, even in your house, you are not safe.”
“We Christians, we need help. We are calling on the government with a loud voice. They should have pity on us, they should look on us with pity,” she says desperately. “In different places, wherever we build our house, they [Fulani] chase us away because they are trying to send a message [to government] in turning against Christians.”
Referring to a decision by Kaduna authorities to cut the phone networks in the area, the woman explains that this has prevented any ransoms being negotiated by their families with the Fulani Islamists.
“We don’t know what will happen and this is our fiftieth day. We can’t speak to the people in our homes, they are looking for us but can’t get us, we too are looking for them,” she explains. “We are begging in the name of God that this network that has been cut has not helped the country.”
“It is only we the poor people who are being kidnapped, and even the rich people in government will not assist us,” she says before the video ends.
The woman opens her appeal by saying the kidnappings are a result of “injustices” against the Fulani people, but the Nigerian source who supplied LifeSiteNews with the recording believes she was speaking under duress.
The priest who died is thought to have been denied access to an inhaler and drugs for asthma, after being kidnapped from his parish house along with his brother.
LifeSiteNews understands that some of the people in the video were kidnapped from a train on March 28, when terrorists blew up the line and abducted 61 passengers. 11 of those people were released on June 11.
One pregnant woman was later released on Friday, June 17, by the kidnappers.
The footage sent to LifeSiteNews was recorded in mid-May, with most of the Christians still languishing in captivity at the time of writing.
A Nigerian priest, who could only speak on the condition of anonymity, told LifeSiteNews that some of the people were abducted in attacks on churches, homes, and marketplaces in Kaduna state in recent weeks.
“This is what is happening to us, and these things are happening every day, every week, every month, for years since the inception of this government of Muhammadu Buhari,” the priest told LifeSiteNews.
“In fact, he [Buhari] is the number one supporter, sponsor, and leader of Islamic terrorism as far as Nigeria is concerned,” the priest said of the ethnically Fulani president. “They have their target, they have their plan. Look at all their appointments in government, look at all that is happening.”
“Have you ever for once heard the president coming out to say ‘What the Boko Haram people are doing, what the ISWAP people are doing, what the ISIS people are doing is wrong?’ All he will say is ‘They will be brought to book … they will be dealt with.’ Meanwhile he goes behind us to congratulate them for doing their evil work,” the priest concluded.
The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, Bishop Lucius Ugorji, said on June 10th that “Nigeria is bleeding.”
“Our land is soaked in blood, from north to south, east to west. Blood is flowing like a river,” Ugorji declared.
“Nigerians now live in fear and anxiety, as a dark cloud of uncertainty hangs over the nation. Nowhere is secure – our homes, our highways, our institutions of learning, and even our sacred precincts of worship centers are all unsafe,” he continued.
“Why has our country become so insecure while we have a government charged with the responsibility of defending the lives and property of one and all? Why has life become so cheap and short in Nigeria? Why must people who slaughter unarmed and law-abiding citizens in our communities be allowed to go scot-free?”
The bishop condemned in the strongest terms the harassment and murder of Christians.
“The killing of innocent worshippers is outrageous, sacrilegious, condemnable, and totally unacceptable,” he stated.
“Recently, it was the kidnapping of the Prelate of the Methodist Church, Nigeria, who later disclosed that he and his two co-travelers were abducted by armed Fulani with the active connivance of the military,” he continued.
“And last Sunday (5 June), the story was the bloody attack on the church in Owo,” where 40 people, including four children, were murdered by Islamists.
According to ACI Africa, the bishop also condemned the murder of Deborah Samuel Yakubu, a Christian student at the College of Education in Sokoto State. Yakubu was murdered by Muslim fellow students who accused her of having blasphemed against the prophet Mohammed.
Last Sunday, three people were killed and 36 kidnapped when Fulani Islamists attacked two churches in Rubu, Kaduna state.