Christians in Kano State in Nigeria are being plagued by kidnappings and threats of massacres by Islamists, and some state officials approve of these acts because they want to erase Christianity from the region, according to church leaders.
Rev. Ayuba Hassan of Evangelical Church Winning All in Tudun Wada Dankadai lamented their lack of freedom to practice their faith in their own hometown. The minister, who is also the chairman of the local chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, said armed Muslims were attacking and abducting Christians in their area in an effort to push them to convert to Islam, Morning Star News relayed.
Last year, three ECWA members were kidnapped in Beguwa village while a woman was raped. Three Catholics were also abducted in Jarkaya village, and another one in Gidan Kuzuntu. There were other incidents of kidnappings by Islamists this year.
CAN Kano State Chapter vice chairman Rev. Murtala Marti Dangora echoed Hassan's thoughts about the kidnappings and other Islamist attacks. He also criticized government officials for giving a nod to what he labeled as a war on the Christian church.
"These attacks are being instigated and supported by the agents of the Muslim-controlled Kano state government to force indigenous Hausa Christians, who we are, to embrace Islam," Rev. Dangora told Morning Star News. "Our refusal to do their biddings is what has made them adopt this strategy of kidnappings and attacks in order to force our people to tow their line. This is a jihad against the church of Jesus Christ."
Officials in Kano State, on the other hand, refused to discuss the Tudun Wada area attacks with the publication. A police representative confirmed the incidents but only said they were investigating the cases.
In a separate report last month, Morning Star News said displaced Christians in Tudun Wada have been prohibited by authorities from rebuilding church buildings destroyed in an attack by Muslims in 2007. It has been a decade since the attack, but the eight churches still lie in ruins because local Muslims do not want them restored.
Joseph Opeyemi Ibinkule, a local Christian, also told the publication that their town did not have a resident pastor and that only a few travel to their area to hold their services under the trees. State officials, on the other hand, declined to talk about the issue.