Niger Pastor kidnapped; gunmen demand over $150,000 in ransom; “please pray”

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A Baptist Pastor from the Tegina, Rafi Local Government area of Niger State, has been abducted by gunmen who have demanded a ransom of nearly 60 million NGN (almost $158,000), International Christian Concern reports.

The family of Reverend Yohanna Gyang Bitrus of Shiyona Baptist Church is reportedly devastated and prayer has been requested both for the pastor’s safe return and for his captors to know Christ.

While the population of Niger is 99% Muslim, there is a small Christian community that has been allowed to live relatively peacefully, ICC reports. However, in those parts of the country which border on areas controlled by Islamic terrorists, believers are more susceptible to persecution and violence.

A local source is reported to have explained that Reverend Bitrus was kidnapped on Thursday afternoon, by “bandits” who arrived in the community and shot in the air sporadically “to create panic among the people.”

The terrorists are understood to have gone straight to the Pastor’s home, from which they took him to an unknown location, ICC said.

According to ICC, the Pastor’s family is searching for ways to find the ransom money. In its report about the abduction, ICC appealed to readers, saying: “Please pray for Reverend Yohanna Gyang Bitrus, that the Lord protects him in his captivity and enables him to safely return to his family. Please also pray for the Reverend's captors, that they will come to know the love of Jesus and turn away from evil.”