Francis Sardauna in Katsina
Palpable fear has gripped residents of Mai-Tsauni community in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina state over the abduction of 25 worshippers in New Life Church by suspected terrorists.
The suspected terrorists, riding on motorcycles, stormed the church in the early hours of yesterday and abducted the victims when they were conducting service, leaving the church pastor, Daniel Danbai, with injuries.
Senior Special Assistant on Christian Affairs to Governor Aminu Bello Masari, Rev. Ishaya Jurau, disclosed this in a telephone interview with THISDAY yesterday.
Jurau, who sent the names of some of the abductees to THISDAY, said: “Bandits riding on motorcycles attacked New Life for All Church in Mai-Tsauni, Gidan Haruna in Kankara local government of Katsina State today (Sunday) around 10am.
“They abducted 25 worshippers and left the church pastor with injuries while they were conducting service this morning. But security agencies are currently searching the forest with a view to rescuing the victims.”
The Secretary of the Katsina State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Musa Peters, who also confirmed the incident to newsmen, claimed that the terrorists abducted all worshippers in the church.
“A terrible report reaching me has it that a church in Kankara local government was attacked this morning around 11:00 am while service was ongoing and all the worshippers except the pastor who was injured were kidnapped,” he said.
A resident of the community, Usman Bako said the development had forced some of the inhabitants of the community to relocate to nearby communities for fear of further attack by the terrorists.
He said: “Some residents of this community have started relocating to nearby communities because we don’t know what will happen next. Some of us who are still here are living in fear because these people (terrorists) are dangerous, they may come back.”
However, the State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Gambo Isah, while confirming the incident in a statement, said the marauding terrorists kidnapped only five worshippers who were preparing to go to church.
He said: “On 15/01/2023 at about 0700hrs, a distress call was received that terrorists in their numbers, shooting sporadically with AK 47 rifles, invaded Dantsauni village, Kankara LGA of Katsina state, shot one Pastor Haruna on his hand and kidnap five women who were preparing to go to the church for Sunday service.
“The kidnapped victims are : Rabi Isyaku, F, aged 15yrs; Rabi Saidu, F, aged 36yrs; Rabi Babba, F, aged 49yrs; Saratu Hadi, aged 27yrs; and Nusaiba Shuaibu, aged 13yrs, all of Maitsauni village, Kankara LGA of Katsina state.”
He said the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Kankara led a team of policemen to the village but before his arrival the terrorists had already escaped with the victims.
According to him, “the injured pastor was evacuated to General Hospital, Kankara for treatment. Efforts are on with a view of arresting the hoodlums.”