Nigeria: Muslim Fulani herdsmen abduct, murder pastor's wife after breaking her legs

Esther Ishaku Katung was kidnapped and killed in Kaduna state, Nigeria.
Esther Ishaku Katung was kidnapped and killed in Kaduna state, Nigeria. | Morning Star News

Muslim Fulani herdsmen kidnapped and killed a pastor’s wife in Nigeria’s Kaduna state after breaking her legs so she could not escape. 

On Sept. 14, Esther Ishaku Katung was kidnapped along with her husband, the Rev. Ishaku Katung, of the Evangelical Church Winning All congregation in Bagoma and several other Christians when herdsmen broke into their home on church premises as they slept, according to Morning Star News

While the couple initially escaped, Esther was recaptured by the herdsmen.

“She attempted to escape with two others after they were kidnapped by the herdsmen; this infuriated the herdsmen, leading them to kill her. They broke her legs in order to prevent her from escaping and smashed her head too. This led to her death,” the Rev. Joseph Hayab, chairman of the Kaduna state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, told the outlet.

The kidnappers dumped her corpse in the bush, he said.

After killing Esther, the herdsmen demanded a ransom of $690 (250,000 naira) from her family. After receiving the payment, the abductors revealed they had already killed the Christian woman.

“They were still demanding the ransom without telling her family that they had killed her,” Hayab said. “It was only after the ransom was paid that it was found by her family that she had been killed by her abductors.”

Thousands have been killed in the last few years as a result of Fulani attacks against predominantly Christian farming communities in the Middle Belt and southern Nigeria. Many Christian communities, including entire tribes, have been displaced from their homes due to attacks. 

Since 2011, an estimated 11,000 people have been killed in conflicts involving Fulani militia, according to Human Rights Watch. The death toll is said to be six times higher than the murders committed by Boko Haram terrorists.

Earlier in September, suspected Muslim Fulani herdsmen shot and killed Baptist pastor Alhamdu Mangadus of Nasara Baptist Church in Asso as he worked on his farm.

Hassan, a native of the slain pastor’s village, visited the area after the killing and was told that the assailants were Muslim Fulani herdsmen.

“Pray along with the church and family as they mourn the barbaric act by Fulani terrorists,” Hassan told Morning Star News.

Hayab of CAN also said Fulani herdsmen were behind the killing.

“He was shot dead on his farm, and the attackers injured another fellow from Tanda,” he said. “The corpse of the pastor was taken away by the Fulani herdsmen but was eventually recovered in the bush after a frantic search by our brethren in the area.”

“We are going back to the era of senseless killings. When will people be safe to go out and seek food to feed their families?” he asked.

In August, it was reported that suspected Fulani radicals killed Catholic priest Paul Offu in Enugu. The killing inspired dozens of priests to protest in the streets of Enugu to call on the state and federal government to protect them. Offu's death came about five months after fellow priest Clement Ugwu was killed. 

Nigeria ranks as the 12th-worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA's 2019 World Watch List. 

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