Christians protest as bandits kill another Baptist cleric in Kaduna

The Christian community in Kaduna State marched again yesterday in protest against the killing of another Baptist Church pastor, Rev. Alhamdu Mangadus, by armed bandits.

The gunmen reportedly trailed the cleric to his farm in Jema’a Council in southern Kaduna where he was killed.

State chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Joseph Hayab, stated yesterday: “Gunmen killed Rev. Alhamdu Mangadus of Baptist Church, Asso (in Jema’a Council), today (September 11). He was shot and killed in his farm and they injured another fellow from Tanda.”

According to Hayab, the cleric’s corpse was taken to an unknown destination.

Attempt to get the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Yakubu Sabo, to comment on the incident was futile, as he did not respond to calls made to his telephone.

On a cheering note, soldiers of joint operation Thunder Strike have rescued seven persons kidnapped at Rijana, along Kaduna-Abuja highway, on Saturday.

The victims – Maryam Abubakar (7), Lawal Temitope (23), Suleiman Khadija (25), Aishat Bisola (26), Ahmad Abdulrafiu (26), Abdulrazak Okunola (35) and Bala Abdullahi (52) – have been handed over to Offa Descendant Union (ODU) in Kaduna at Sir Kashim House.

The abductors had stopped the seven, who were reportedly travelling from Kwara to Kaduna, in Rijana about 9.30 p.m. and moved them into the forest.

Explaining that their abductors were in full military camouflage, the survivors disclosed that they trekked for about three hours into the bush before reaching the kidnappers’ den.

Operation Thunder Strike is a Defence Headquarters-led operation comprising the army, navy, air force, police and civil defence to address security threats along Kaduna-Abuja, Kaduna-Birnin Gwari and Kaduna-Zaria highways.

Force Commander, Operation Thunder Strike, Col. Ibrahim Gambari, warned the public to avoid night travels, if they can.

Receiving the victims, National Vice President of ODU, Prof. Tijjani Olanisimi, thanked the state government and the military for rescuing the victims.

He urged the security agencies in particular to be more proactive to end kidnapping around Kaduna-Abuja highway.

The state government has, however, said that no ransom was paid to the bandits who had demanded N10 million for the release of the victims.

Meanwhile, one person has been shot dead by suspected kidnappers in Matazu Council of Katsina State.

The banits also abducted two children of the acting council chairman, Kabir Faruk, and demanded N50 million before they would be released.

Some people were injured during the kidnap operation that took place in the wee hours of yesterday.

Similarly, chairman of Kogi State Miners Association, Yunusa Oruma, has been abducted by gunmen from his residence in Ankpa Council.

The victim’s brother, Prince Oruma, told newsmen yesterday that his brother was relaxing in his house when eight gunmen invaded the place about 8 p.m. and began shooting sporadically.

He said the gunmen seized his brother and drove away with him, adding that there had been no information about his whereabouts since the incident.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, DSP William Aya, confirmed the incident, adding that efforts were ongoing by the command to rescue the victim.