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Terrorist attacks led to the closure of seventy churches in Nigeria, but the priest escaped unharmed.

In response to terrorist attacks, a denomination in Plateau State, Nigeria, has closed seventy of its churches. The terrorists reportedly freed the kidnapped priest in the nation’s northwest on Sunday, July 7th, as per reports.

He asserted that the December 2017 Christmas attacks had a profound effect on COCIN congregations.

The Christmas attacks in December of last year had a direct impact on COCIN congregations, he claimed.

Pastor Mohzo remarked, “We were powerless to stop the deaths of our members and other people who lost their homes and suffered severe trauma.”

Displaced Christians in IDP camps celebrated Christmas despite the tragedy.

In the Mangu area, attacks forced at least 40 COCIN congregations to close, he said.

He said the denomination lost “roughly thirty” congregations in the Bokkos region.

He said the denomination lost “about 30” congregations in the Bokkos area.

“The terrorists burned down all our worship church buildings in these communities,” Pastor Mohzo said. “Internally displaced Christians from these communities are still living in camps outside their communities. And even now, most of them who are farmers cannot go to their farms.”

He said that sometimes Christians who have dared return to their farms have formed communal groups for greater security.

“Notwithstanding, our church members displaced still find it difficult to go to their farms for productive activities because of ceaseless attacks against them by armed terrorists, herdsmen, and bandits,” he said.

In light of recent events, we have directed our efforts toward assisting our church members in reuniting with their communities. Many of our members who survived the attacks live in camps outside their towns.

However, for their safe return, we must allocate resources to reconstruct our places of worship and the homes devastated by the fires.

Attacks by Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) have impeded COCIN evangelistic outreaches in northeastern Nigeria.

“I’m from the northeast of Nigeria, Gwoza Local Government Area, precisely from Limankara town, and my village is Ngoshe Sama, which is on the hills,” Pastor Mohzo said.

“Boko Haram took over the village years ago, and they’re still there. So, these hills occupied by Boko Haram terrorists overlook Limankara and Gwoza towns. These terrorists come down from the hills to attack our communities and then retreat into the hills.”

On June 29th, attacks in Gwoza killed and maimed both Christians and Muslims, he said.

“We live together as a community,” Pastor Mohzo said. The rise of insurgencies and Boko Haram in Borno State has had a significant impact on many members of our community, resulting in fatalities and forced migrations.

“Those who had nowhere to go had to stay and prepare to die when the terrorists attacked.

Life has not been easy for the survivors, he added.

“They cannot go to their farms because of the terrorists, so they depend on non-governmental organizations to support them,” he said.

The NGOs also cannot assist the displaced Christians, given the country’s current economic difficulties.

The COCIN is struggling to raise funds to ransom Rev. Paul Musa and his wife, whom Boko Haram kidnapped.

“We as a church are handicapped because it is impossible to raise money at all times to pay ransoms to terrorists to secure the release of pastors being held captive,” he told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News.

Terrorist groups are targeting and kidnapping members of our church and pastors in various parts of northern Nigeria. We are facing a challenging situation, as we need to secure significant funds to free them from their captors.

Nevertheless, COCIN leaders have been appealing to individuals and organizations to help secure the release of Pastor Musa and other church members held captive. Pastor Musa and his wife have been held captive for more than a year.

“I was recently in Maiduguri and visited his children,” he said. “They’re traumatized. They pleaded with me to secure the release of their parents, and I told them that if it was within my reach, I would not allow their parents to remain in captivity even for one second, but it was beyond us. The children are always crying, always in tears for their parents. It pains my heart to see these children in this way.”

In northeast Nigeria’s Borno State, Boko Haram terrorists captured a pastor and his wife in June and issued a death threat, demanding ransom within a week.

Pastor Mohzo declared the ultimatum had expired as the captors did not communicate within a week. We respectfully request that the captors of Rev. Musa and his wife set them free.

He said terrorist attacks have also engulfed northwest Nigeria.

“Terrorists also target our churches in the country’s northwest. Christians in the northwest of Nigeria also suffer the same terrorist attacks,” he said.

“Evangelization activities have been impeded in this part of the country. How can we deliberately jeopardize and endanger the lives of those called to ministry when we know that they’ll become targets of terrorist attacks?”

In northwest Nigeria’s Zamfara State, Roman Catholic priest Mikah Suleiman was released on Sunday (July 7th) after being kidnapped on Jun. 22, according to the church’s Sokoto Diocese. He and church officials failed to reveal who had abducted him or the terms for his release.

In a video that the diocese released on Sunday, Suleiman says, “I want to thank you for your prayers and support towards my rescue.” “By the grace of God, I’m out of the hands of the bandits.”

Sokoto Diocese communications director Pascal Salifu thanked “the authorities and all involved in securing Father Mikah’s release.”

In the 2024 WWL of the countries where it is most challenging to be a Christian, Nigeria was ranked No. 6, as in the previous year.

The 2024 World Watch List (WWL) report by Open Doors reveals Nigeria remains the deadliest place for Christians, with 4,118 individuals killed for their religious beliefs between Oct. 1, 2022, and Sept. 30, 2023. More kidnappings of Christians than in any other country also took place in Nigeria, at 3,300.

Nigeria was also the third highest country in the number of attacks on churches and other Christian buildings, such as hospitals, schools, and cemeteries, with 750, according to the report.

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