A pastor's family in northern Nigeria is mourning the death of two children after gunmen stormed their home, shooting and killing the two sons, and abducting the pastor's 13-year-old daughter.
Gunmen broke into the home of Pastor Daniel Umaru in Njairi, Adamawa State, during the early morning hours of July 6, Voice of the Martyrs Canada reports.
Pastor Daniel was shot in the attack but survived, while their 19-year-old son, Kefrey, and 23-year-old son, Fanye, died from their wounds. The pastor's wife was left in a state of unconsciousness due to the shock of the events according to reports from Morning Star News in Nigeria.
On Saturday, July 9, a funeral service was held for the couple's two slain sons at the Church of the Brethren where Pastor Daniel serves.
The family's daughter, Ijagla was safely freed after a "huge ransom" had been paid to the kidnappers according to VOTM.
"Kidnapping for ransom has become a significant problem in Nigeria," VOTM reports "and Christians are frequently the victims of such attacks. Many of the perpetrators responsible for terrorizing villages throughout the country operate from a militant Islamic perspective, causing them to commit acts of targeted violence against Christian communities."
The Christian Post reports that area resident Peter Musa lamented the killings.
“Please pray for God’s intervention in this state over unending attacks on Christians and churches,” he told Morning Star News in a text message.
Persecution watchdog Open Doors says that Nigeria is the seventh most dangerous country in the world for Christians. "Persecution in Nigeria is, simply put, brutally violent," Open Doors says in its country profile. "In much of northern Nigeria, Christians live their lives under the constant threat of attack from Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Fulani militants and criminals who kidnap and murder with few consequences. While all citizens of northern Nigeria are subject to threats and violence, Christians are often specifically targeted because of their faith—ISWAP and Boko Haram want to eliminate the Christian presence in Nigeria, and Muslim Fulani militants attack Christian villages specifically."