Nigeria: Catholic priest and six others killed in attack on church

April 3, 2021

The pitiless murder of Fr. Ferdinand Fanen Ngugban 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.

“Catholic priest and six others killed in attack on church in Nigeria,” by Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, March 31, 2021:

Rome Newsroom, Mar 31, 2021 / 07:25 am MT (CNA).- A Catholic priest and at least six others were killed by gunmen in an attack on St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Benue State, Nigeria, the Diocese of Katsina-Ala confirmed Wednesday.

Fr. Ferdinand Fanen Ngugban had just offered Mass in his parish church of St. Paul Ayetwar in eastern Nigeria and was preparing to leave for the Holy Week Chrism Mass when he was shot in the head by gunmen on March 30.

According to a statement by Fr. Fidelis Phelle Akjmbul, chancellor of the Diocese of Katsina-Ala, the body of the priest and those of six other victims were recovered after “there was pandemonium among the internally displaced persons who took refuge in the parish premises.”

“Fr Ferdinand went out to find out the cause of the confusion. He was shot in the head as he tried to take cover after sighting armed gunmen,” said the letter from the chancery dated March 31 and obtained by ACI Africa, CNA’s African news partner.

Local authorities in Nigeria’s Benue State confirmed that bandits had attacked St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Aye-Twar village.

The unidentified gunmen who attacked the parish also raided the Aye-Twar village and set many houses on fire, according to multiple media reports.

Ngugban was ordained to the priesthood in 2015. The diocese noted that he was on his way to “renew his priestly vows alongside his brother priests” in the Chrism Mass at St. Gerard Majella Cathedral when he was killed….