Nigeria: Body of kidnapped priest found with machete wounds

January 22, 2021

Christian persecution in Nigeria: the pitiless murder of Fr. John Gbakaan is yet another example of the gratuitous violence to which Christians in that country are subjected on what is now practically a daily basis. This crisis has grown in the face of continued inaction from the Nigerian government and law enforcement apparatus. Muslim Fulani herdsmen, as well as the terrorist group Boko Haram, terrorize and kill Christians in Nigeria with impunity. And when they do, there is in almost all cases little or no significant response from the Nigerian government or military. The Fulani herdsmen have made the situation of Christians in Nigeria a human rights catastrophe of immense proportions.

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, continues to implore the United Nations and the governments of all nations that are committed to human rights and religious freedom to make the plight of Nigeria’s Christians a top priority. The Christians of Nigeria are walking the way of the Cross. May our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ also bless them with the joy of a resurrection and new flourishing of their communities.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Nigeria from, see here.

“Body of kidnapped priest found with machete wounds in Nigeria,” by Samuel Smith, Christian Post, January 2021:

A Catholic priest’s body was discovered last Saturday in Nigeria with apparent machete wounds while his brother remains missing following their abduction last week.

The Christian Association of Nigeria spoke out this week after the killing of Fr. John Gbakaan, a priest serving in the Minna Catholic Diocese in Kaduna state who was kidnapped by unidentified perpetrators.

“We received the news of the kidnapp[ing] and killing of our dear Rev. Father John with great shock and pains,” CAN’s Vice Chairman, the Rev. John Hayab, said in an interview with the Nigerian news outlet Vanguard published Sunday.

As reported by Agenzia Fides, a news service affiliated with the Pontifical Mission Societies, Gbakaan served at the Saint Anthony Church in Gulu. He was kidnapped last Friday along the road from Lambata to Lapai in the state of Niger in Nigeria’s troubled Middle Belt.

Fides confirmed the priest’s killing with Fr. John Jatau, the parish priest of St. Teresa Catholic Church in Madala, a suburb of Abuja.

Jatau said that Gbakaan went with his brother and another priest on Jan. 14 to visit his mother in Benue state.

On their return trip home on Jan. 15, Gbakaan and his brother were attacked by armed men around 9 p.m. After the abduction, the kidnappers reportedly demanded an initial ransom equivalent to nearly $80,000 from the diocese. The ransom was later reduced to the equivalent of $13,000.

According to local media cited by Catholic News Agency, Gbakaan’s body was found tied to a tree on Jan. 16 around the same spot he was abducted. His Toyota was also recovered. However, there are no signs of Gbakaan’s brother…