Pastor, wife plead for rescue in kidnapping video


ABUJA, Nigeria  — A video of a pastor and his wife kidnapped in March 2023 appeared on May 5 in which he pleaded for help from the government of Nigeria and Christian leaders.

No one took responsibility for the March 14, 2023, kidnapping of the Rev. Paul Musa and his wife from Gamboru Ngala, Borno state, but the flag of Islamic extremist group Boko Haram appears beside the couple seated in the video. While the date the video was made could not be verified, it gave hope to Christians that the couple were still alive.

The video uploaded to YouTube on Sunday showed the pastoral couple of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) seated on a mat, the wife wearing a hijab, a head covering usually used by Muslim women. YouTube took down the video shortly after it appeared, saying only that it violated its “terms of service.”

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The Rev. Paul Musa and his wife seen in video released on May 5, 2024.
The Rev. Paul Musa and his wife seen in video released on May 5, 2024. | Screenshot: Christian Daily International-Morning Star News

The pastor pleaded for leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Nigerian government to urgently intervene to rescue them from captivity, saying, “We need help from the government of Nigeria and the Christian body in Nigeria that is CAN.”

He lamented the government’s indifference to their plight, noting that the terrorists released Muslims who were kidnapped and brought to the same location, while Christians have remained in captivity.

“Muslims who were also abducted have been set free and gone back to their communities; are we not good citizens enough because of our religion? We have been forgotten. Why?” he said.

Pastor Musa said it is unjust to have been abandoned by the Nigerian government.

He expressed displeasure over the attitude of his denomination’s leadership, saying it had not taken their plight seriously in spite of their nearly 29 years in ministry.

“Is this what we preach every week?” he said. “I am a pastor, likewise my wife. Why have we been abandoned here?”

Two weeks after their kidnapping in mid-March 2023, the Borno state chapter of CAN issued a statement calling for prayer for their release and called on the Nigerian government to intervene. The Rev. Joshua Michael, secretary of the state chapter, announced that the couple were kidnapped from the living quarters on the church premises in Gamboru Ngala town, on the border with Cameroon near that country’s Fotocol town.

“According to information from his family, they noticed that their parents were missing at night when one of his daughters came out to relieve herself,” Michael said. “Surprisingly she noticed that the door to her parents’ room was open, when she checked, she found out that both of them were missing. There is no information about them, all efforts to contact them proved abortive as their phones were both switched off.”

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. 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.

Originally published at Christian Daily International 

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