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Priest recounts kidnapping and torture by Fulani militants

Father Bako Francis Awesuh of Kaduna State was kidnapped along with ten of his parishioners on the night of the 16th of May 2021. Recently, he described his ordeal in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need.


“I heard gunshots and I quickly turned off the television set,” he told the news source. “I saw five bulky Fulani herdsmen who were well-armed; I recognised them by their dress and by the way they spoke.” Father Awesuh explained that the Fulani broke down his door and forced themselves inside.

“One of the men pushed me to the floor, tied me up and flogged me mercilessly, saying ka ki ka bude mana kofa da tsori (‘you are getting tortured because you kept us standing outside for so long and refused to open the door when we were knocking’). They stripped me naked down to my shorts.”

The Fulani militants brought Father Awesuh and ten of his parishioners into the bush, where they trekked for three days with little food, and no water. “On the third day, we arrived at a camp deep in the forest. In that camp, there was a small hut where they kept us.”

“We were not allowed to bathe throughout our captivity. We had to urinate and defecate in the hut. We were smelling like dead bodies and the hut smelled like a mortuary.” Father Awesuh said that he and the group were tortured and threatened with death, if their families were unable to pay the $120,000 ransom.

t Fulani herdsmen continue to terrorise Christian communities in Nigeria and have surpassed Boko Haram as the greatest threat to believers in the country. Despite this, the Nigerian government and much of the international community continue to say that there is no religious basis for the violence taking place.


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