Muslim Extremists Abduct Catholic Priest in Nigeria

Farrukh Saif

July 7, 2024

Nigeria Christian Persecution

On June 22, 2024, Reverend Father Mikah Suleiman, the parish priest of St. Raymond Catholic Church in Damba, Gusau, Zamfara State, Nigeria, was abducted by Muslim extremists. This incident marks the second kidnapping of a church leader in Nigeria within just three weeks, raising alarm about the increasing vulnerability of Christian figures in the region.

Abduction:

The abduction took place in the early hours of Saturday morning at Father Suleiman’s residence in the Damba area of Gusau. Very Reverend Father Nuhu Iliya, the acting Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, confirmed the incident in a statement, expressing deep sadness and calling for prayers for the priest’s safe and swift return.

Church and Police Response:

The Zamfara State Police Command, through its spokesperson Yazid Abubakar, acknowledged the kidnapping and stated that a police tactical squad had been deployed to rescue Father Suleiman. However, it was noted that the incident was not immediately reported to the police, potentially complicating initial response efforts.

This latest abduction highlights the persistent threat faced by religious leaders in Nigeria, particularly in regions where extremist groups operate. The frequency of such incidents has raised concerns about the safety of clergy members and the broader implications for religious freedom in the country.

The kidnapping of Father Suleiman follows a pattern of targeted attacks on religious figures in Nigeria. These acts of violence not only endanger peoples lives but also serve to intimidate religious communities and disrupt their activities. The situation calls for increased security measures and a concerted effort from both government and community leaders to address the root causes of such extremist actions.

As the search for Father Suleiman continues, the Catholic community and concerned citizens have been urged to pray for his safe release.

Impact on Christian Communities:

Nigeria has become the most dangerous country in the world for Christians. At least 52,250 Christians have been killed in Nigeria over the past 14 years (from 2010-2024).

According to the Civil Society Joint Action Group, more than 17,000 Nigerians, most of them Christians, have been abducted since 2019. In May 2024, around 160 people, mostly Christians were kidnapped in a single attack on Kuchi village in Niger state. In March 2024, nearly 700 women and children were abducted in just three weeks.

Approximately 14 million Christians have been uprooted, with 8 million forced to flee their homes to avoid being killed. About 5 million have been displaced into Internally Displaced Peoples’ (IDP) camps within Nigeria or refugee camps at regional borders.

We urge you to keep the Christians of Nigeria in your prayers.

Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.

2 Comments

  1. RamFam of Montana

    Fr. Mikah Suleiman is a good and holy man of God and we pray for his swift and safe return, and for an end to such abductions.

    Reply
  2. Farrukh Saif

    Verily, Fr. Mikah Suleiman is a righteous servant of the Lord. May the Almighty shield and deliver him from the hands of his captors, and may His peace reign over all lands, putting an end to such grievous acts. Let us lift our voices in prayer, that the Lord’s mercy and protection be upon him, and that he may return swiftly and safely to his flock. Amen.

    Reply

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