Armed assailants reportedly attacked a Christian church early Sunday morning in Nigeria, shooting and wounding its pastor, and kidnapping more than two dozen people.
The incident occurred around 7:00 a.m. at the New Life for All Church in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State, just as people had gathered for worship services, according to The Guardian.
Reverend Ishaya Jarau, the senior special assistant (SSA) to the state governor, described the gunmen as "terrorists," telling reporters they had "abducted 25 worshippers and left the church pastor with injuries while they were conducting services."
Jarau also added that nine of the abducted people were able to escape, and had returned to the community.
Following the attack, state security personnel had doubled their efforts to seek the release of the rest of the victims, he said.
However, SP Gambo Isah, the spokesperson for the Police Command, confirmed the attack but said only five people were abducted, according to The Guardian.
''The terrorists stormed the church in large numbers at 7 am and abducted five worshippers who were all women. They shot and wounded the pastor, identified as Pastor Haruna. They did not go away with him, but they abducted the women," he said.
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) said the attack on the Kankara church was a part of a coordinated series of attacks by terrorists over the last seven years against the Christian faith.
Catholic Priest Died When House Set on Fire
As CBN's Faithwire reported, a Roman Catholic priest recently burned to death after gunmen set his living quarters on fire.
The Rev. Fr. Isaac Achi of St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church was reportedly murdered in Kafin-Koro, Paikoro County, Niger state, after extremists set his living quarters on fire, Morning Star News reported.
Rev. Collins Omeh, an assistant priest, was also allegedly shot in the shoulder during the assault. Omeh was reportedly taken to the hospital after the inferno was set in the rectory.
The situation for Christians in Nigeria continues to be dire, with the persecution issue in the nation reaching a fever pitch. In November, another story of tragedy and terror emerged when militants reportedly kidnapped dozens of Christians.
Suspected Fulani herdsmen captured two groups of Christian workers in southwestern Nigeria on Nov. 24. One group of 23 people was on its way to a wedding and the other — a bus with 48 people — was traveling to a funeral, Morning Star News reported.
Open Doors USA's 2023 World Watch List ranks Nigeria as the sixth most dangerous place in the world to live as a Christian.