Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide - Young boy killed and three kidnapped in Palm Sunday attack in Nigeria - Open Doors UK & Ireland
06 April 2023

Young boy killed and three kidnapped in Palm Sunday attack in Nigeria

In a tragic reminder of the dangers facing millions of Christians over Easter, an attack in Nigeria on Palm Sunday has led to the death of a young boy and the kidnap of at least three believers, including a pastor. Please pray for the protection of our persecuted family during Holy Week. 

Church in Nigeria

Churches in parts of Nigeria will gather over Easter at heightened risk of attack (illustrative picture)

A young boy has been killed and at least three people kidnapped, including a pastor, in an attack on a church in northern Nigeria on Palm Sunday (2 April) by suspected Fulani militants. 

Pastor Gwadue Kwaghtyo was leading an early morning prayer vigil at the church in the village of Akenawe in Benue State on Sunday when gunmen stormed in. “As they were praying, they were surrounded by the armed men,” reports Salome Tor, Chairman of Logo LGA. “They kidnapped three people, killed one boy and injured two people with a machete; they are now in the hospital.”

Some reports indicate that four people were kidnapped. Pastor Gwadue Kwaghtyo is among those reported to have been taken. 

The incident highlights the heightened risks facing millions of Christians during Holy Week. In many places, services are more regular and prominent, and this can further expose believers to hostility. Believers in Nigeria are especially prone to violent attacks; last year, more than 5,000 Christians lost their lives for their faith – that’s more than anywhere else in the world combined. The country is sixth on the World Watch List

Meanwhile, in a separate incident this week, eight students were kidnapped whilst returning home from their school in the town of Awon, Kaduna State, on Tuesday (4 April). It’s not yet known who is responsible, nor whether any of the victims are Christians. 

Please pray
  • For the imminent and safe release of all those kidnapped in these two incidents
  • That God’s unfailing comfort will surround those grieving, traumatised and waiting for news of loved ones
  • For the protection of Christians worldwide over Easter as they gather to remember and celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection.
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Find out more about persecution in Nigeria, and rising violence facing Christians across sub-Saharan Africa, in our Top 50 booklet. It features country overviews, trend articles, stories and prayer requests to equip you in your prayers and support for our persecuted family. 


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