Christian Mother, 2 Children Murdered by Muslim Radicals in Nigeria After Priest Killed in Kidnapping

Worshippers demonstrate their faith during a church service in Nigeria.
Worshippers demonstrate their faith during a church service in Nigeria. | (PHOTO: REUTERS)

A Christian mother and her two children were killed by Islamic radicals in Nigeria just days after a priest was murdered in a kidnapping, as the widespread slaughter of believers continues.

Morning Star News reported on Monday that the radical Fulani herdsmen shot and killed Rebecca Daniel Choji, her 16-year-old daughter, Suzanna Daniel Choji, and her 29-year-old son, Joel Choji, in an ambush in Jol village, Plateau state, last week.

While the brother and sister died on the spot, the mother died of her wounds two days later at Plateau State Specialist Hospital in Jos.

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In a separate attack in southwest Nigeria, the Rev. David Ayeola of the African Church in Akure, Ondo state, was shot dead on Oct. 21, days after he was kidnapped on Oct. 17.

Ayeola was reportedly taken by the Fulani while traveling to a burial for an in-law of the bishop in Ayegbaju.

The Rev. Samuel Ojo, bishop of the African Church who survived the incident, said that masked gunmen emerged from the bush and blocked the road during the attack.

"Our driver attempted to turn back, but he discovered that members of the gang were also coming from the back," Ojo said. "He suddenly drove into the forest. Myself, my wife, the priest and the driver ran into the bush. I told them to run for their lives, and we fled in different directions. I crawled in the forest like a snake for hours."

The bishop said he later received a phone call from the attackers who demanded $275,368 for the priest's release.

"The kidnappers started calling me from the priest's phone number," Ojo said. "From their accents, they sounded like Fulani. They were threatening to kill him if we didn't pay the money. When I offered them $1,375 (500,000 naira) they insulted me and the church."

Adeyemi Ademola, a police spokesman for the Ekiti State Command, confirmed that Ayeola was killed despite attempts by officials to save him.

"When the kidnappers noticed that the police and the hunters were coming, they shot the priest and escaped," Ademola said.

"We went after them for a while, but the team had to turn back when it was getting dark. This was to avoid endangering the lives of members of the team in a terrain that the kidnappers may be more familiar with. We took the priest to a general hospital, but sadly, we lost him."

Gyang Dahoro, a local Christian from Plateau state, expressed that believers have been constantly under attack by the Fulani in the past few months.

"Our villages have been ravaged, and our houses and churches destroyed, and in most cases these herdsmen have taken over the villages where Christians have been displaced," Dahoro said.

He added that Choji and her two children were some of the "Christians killed in recent times as the herdsmen in collaboration with Boko Haram continue to invade our communities."

Several deadly raids by the Fulani have led to the destruction of churches and scores of casualties, including one period in Plateau between Oct. 8 and Oct. 17 where as many as 48 Christians were killed.

International Christian Concern said last week that although such raids are not new, the "ferocity and number of attacks in this short period have caused major problems for the beleaguered citizens."

"Also, the fact that there is a military force stationed in the area, that has been completely ineffective, raises even more cause for concern," ICC added.

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

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