Islamists Burn Catholic Man Alive in Nigeria

Islamists Burn Catholic Man Alive in Nigeria

A mob of Fulani Muslim raiders torched a Catholic parish rectory in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, killing a 25-year-old seminarian, local media has reported.

Two priests, Fathers Emmanuel Okolo and Monday Noah, managed to escape from St. Raphael’s parish rectory but the seminarian, Na’aman Danlami, was trapped inside the building and burned to death in the attack that took place the evening of Thursday, September 7.

“The attackers were aiming to kidnap the parish priest. When they failed in their attempt to enter the fathers’ house, they set it on fire,” said Bishop Julius Yakubu Kundi of the local Diocese of Kafanchan. “The two priests were able to escape but, terribly, the seminarian was burned inside.”

“It’s a terrible loss. We recovered the body of Na’aman Danlami this morning and took it to the morgue,” the bishop told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

“This seminarian is the second member we have lost in the diocese at the hands of terrorist attacks by Fulani bandits,” the bishop added, in reference to the brutal murder of Father John Mark Cheitnum last year.

Father Williams Kaura Abba, a local priest who taught Danlami at the St. Albert Institute, described the incident as a “kidnapping spree.”

“Two priests in the burnt house were able to escape. The seminarian was trapped,” Father Abba said. “The bandits set the rectory ablaze. Na’aman Danlami, the seminarian, died of asphyxiation and suffered severe burns. May God rest the soul of this martyr.”

Bishop Kundi posted a message on Facebook this weekend titled “Nothing Can Take Our Joy,” ahead of the feast of St. Peter Claver, patron saint of the diocese of Kafanchan.

“Yes we are bereaved!” the message reads. “We are deeply pained by the gruesome murder of our little brother, Seminarian Naaman Ngufe. But do not forget, as faithful followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are disciplined to receive everything from God and to be ready to do or give everything for Him.”

“Let us prove to our enemies with all their arsenals that they have failed again,” the bishop wrote.

On Sunday, Bishop Kundi spoke at a plenary meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria in Abuja, where he said that sadly, “this happy and solemn event is overshadowed by the news of the barbaric murder of a seminarian of Kafanchan Diocese.”

“It is just one of the latest crimes committed in Nigeria against people of all ethnicities, religions and social classes,” he said.

Christians in Nigeria “suffer persecution from an ingrained agenda of enforced Islamization, which is particularly prevalent in the north of the country and has gradually been spreading south,” a report stated last January from the Christian watchdog group Open Doors.

“Attacks by Islamic militant groups have increased consistently since 2015, but the government has failed to prevent the rise in violence, which affects all Nigerians, but particularly Christians,” it said.

In 2022, more Christians were killed for their faith in Nigeria than in any other country in the world and Nigeria also led the world in the number of Christians abducted, sexually assaulted, forcibly married or physically or mentally abused.