KAFIN–KORO, Nigeria (ChurchMilitant.com) - After an attack by armed bandits in West Africa, one Nigerian priest is dead, and another is severely injured.
Early on Sunday morning, bandits attacked Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Kafin–Koro, Nigeria. The attackers burned Fr. Isaac Achi to death while his assistant, Fr. Collins Omeh, survived and is in the hospital with gunshot wounds.
Local police issued a statement: "Police tactical teams attached to Kafin–Koro Div were immediately drafted to the scene, but the hoodlums had escaped before the arrival of the teams."
According to the police assessment, the bandits attempted to enter the building but failed and then set fire to the residence. While launching an investigation into the tragedy, the local commissioner of police has sent reinforcements to the area to apprehend the attackers. Father Achi was pastor at Sts. Peter and Paul, the Dean of the Kafin–Koro Deanery in the Catholic diocese of Minna and was also the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria.
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, responded to the deadly attack: "Let us all join in prayer for this priest and for the Church in Nigeria." The prelate offered this prayer for the fallen priest: "O God, who didst raise Thy servant, Issac, to the Sacred priesthood of Jesus Christ ... We beseech Thee to reward his faithfulness and to forget his faults, admitting him speedily into Thy Holy Presence, there to enjoy forever the recompense of his labors."
Let us all join in prayer for this priest and for the Church in Nigeria… https://t.co/r2CUDwg6Zz— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishopoftyler) January 15, 2023
This attack comes after years of anti-Christian violence in Nigeria. In 2019, an international human rights group warned that the persecution of Nigerian Christians under the nation's Muslim Fulani militants was approaching genocide. In 2020, gunmen raided a school that housed hundreds of students and abducted four Nigerian seminarians. Then in 2021, all in the span of a few days, militants kidnapped multiple Catholic priests and killed close to 20 Christians. In 2022, the violence continued, and Abp. Matthew Ndagoso of the archdiocese of Kaduna, lamented, "Nigerians are at the brink of losing hope. People see no reason why they should live now given what is happening in our country." These are merely a few examples of the many incidents of violence over the past few years.
In 2020, the Trump administration listed Nigeria as a "county of particular concern," meaning a place where authorities are flagging severe violations of religious freedom. That same year, Nigeria ranked third on a 2020 global terrorism index. One year later, sham-Catholic Joe Biden removed Nigeria from the CPC list, a move critics called "shameful," as violence continued to rage against Christians.
Meanwhile, international leaders are calling for more action to aid Nigerian Christians. After Fr. Achi was burned to death over the weekend, Hungary's State Secretary Tristan Azbej called for the global community to take "an active stance" in supporting persecuted Christians. Azbej warned Western leaders to stop their "denial," writing, "a dozen Christians a day are not murdered because of climate change or local clashes, but because of their religion." The Hungarian secretary stated that condolences were not enough.