Nigerian pastor shot to death in cold blood

A Christian pastor in Benin in Sub-Saharan Africa has been executed in cold blood by unknown assailants on Sunday night while trying to deliver food to his less fortunate church members.

(REUTERS / Akintunde Akinleye)A billboard campaigning for Lionel Zinsou, Benin's Prime Minister and presidential candidate, is seen from a bridge in the Tokpa district in Cotonou, Benin, March 4, 2016.

Love Fire Ministry founder and head Pastor Godwin Emmanuel was on his way to distribute food to a church member at Oko Central road when he encountered the gunmen who pretended that their car had broken down, according to the church's head of media Festus Edema. The latter said the assailants, who still have not been identified, gunned down the pastor, PM News Nigeria relays.

"The man of God stopped for them to pass so that he can have his way. He never knew that they were the people who came to attack him. So they shot him in the chest and stomach," Edema told reporters. "Being a strong man, he still tried to put the car in reverse and as he was reversing the car, he hit the fence and they came and shot him at close range. That shot silenced him."

State police commissioner Haliru Gwandu lamented the rise in the number of assassinations in the region. He also vowed to keep working until the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice.

Meanwhile, four Christian priests who belonged to an anti-voodoo cult in Benin were arrested and charged last month in connection with the deaths of five people who attended a prayer gathering last month. Some members of the "Very Holy Church of Jesus Christ of Baname" had also suffered severe breathing problems after the incident, Vanguard reports.

Witnesses told Reuters that the members of the Christian group died after they were told to "burn incense and charcoal" inside their prayer rooms. The four priests, who are now facing manslaughter charges, were imprisoned and are set to face trial over the deaths of their five followers.

Vicentia Chanvoukini, one of the leaders of the group who is regarded by her followers as a god, said the five people who died were not real members of the church. Rather, she said those individuals came to the gathering to test them.