Islamic extremists kill three Christians in northeast Nigeria

Location of Yobe state, Nigeria.
Location of Yobe state, Nigeria. | (Uwe Dedering, Creative Commons)

Suspected Islamic extremist militants on Wednesday (June 5) killed three Christians and kidnapped another after intercepting them on a highway in northeast Nigeria, Christian leaders said.

The suspected Boko Haram terrorists stopped a commercial passenger vehicle along the Damaturu-Biu Highway in Yobe state and separated out four Christians, killing three of them and taking the fourth hostage, said the Rev. Ibrahim Abako, secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Yobe State Chapter.

The terrorists had mounted a checkpoint near Kumaya village, near Yobe state’s border with Borno state, Abako said in a press statement.

“The Boko Haram terrorists targeted Christians and abducted four passengers who were Christians, releasing the Muslims,” Abako said.

The four Christians were traveling from Biu town to Damaturu, he said.

“The terrorists dragged the four Christians out of the vehicle they were traveling in and took them to a bush, where they killed three of them and took the fourth at gunpoint to an unknown place,” Abako said. “Christian relations of the victims have recovered three corpses out of the four Christians abducted.”

He called on the Nigerian government and security agencies, especially the military and police, to take proactive measures to protect Nigerian citizens regardless of their religion.

“We condemn in totality the killing of these three Christians and the abduction of one other Christian,” Abako said. “These incidents have been happening frequently without Nigerian authorities doing anything to prevent them from happening.”

The Rev. David Ayuba Azzaman, a pastor in northern Nigeria, confirmed the killing in a message seeking prayer.

“Three Christians were killed by Allah’s soldiers on Wednesday, 6 June, along Biu-Damaturu road in Yobe state,” Pastor Azzaman said.

He said he had received information denoting that Muslim extremists had singled out the Christians.

“These Christians died for Jesus. Boko Haram members that committed this gruesome act, Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing,” he said, praying that “these Boko Haram members will not die until they profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and His name glorified.”

Nigeria remained the deadliest place in the world to follow Christ, with 4,118 people killed for their faith from Oct. 1, 2022 to Sept. 30, 2023, according to Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List (WWL) report. More kidnappings of Christians than in any other country also took place in Nigeria, with 3,300.

Nigeria was also the third highest country in number of attacks on churches and other Christian buildings such as hospitals, schools, and cemeteries, with 750, according to the report.

In the 2024 WWL of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria was ranked No. 6, as it was in the previous year.