• Armed men set Isaac Achi’s home in northern Nigeria on fire after they were unable to break in, police said

Abuja: Catholic priest Reverend Isaac Achi was burned alive on Sunday in a botched home invasion at his house in Kaffin Koro parish in Nigeria’s Niger state, a police spokesman has told Associated Press.

When the armed would-be robbers failed to break in, they opted to set the compound on fire instead, leaving the priest to burn, while his assistant, Father Collins, narrowly escaped with his life, taking a bullet to the shoulder as he fled.

Nigerian authorities explained that militant groups are increasingly targeting rural communities in the north and central areas of the country thanks to small and ill-equipped security forces incapable of opposing them. While these “bandits” have reportedly killed thousands and kidnapped others for ransom, occasionally targeting religious figures for an extra terror factor, they are apparently rarely detained.

“These terrorists have lost it and drastic action is needed to end this ongoing carnage,” Niger Governor Abubakar Sani Bello said in a statement issued by his press secretary on Sunday. He urged the security agencies to develop new strategies for combating the militant groups but asked the population to remain calm as his government continued to “do its best to secure the lives and livelihoods of the people.”

The Christian Association of Nigeria’s (YOWICAN) youth wing issued a statement describing the attack as an act of terrorism aimed at wiping out the entire Nigerian Christian community.

“The continuous killing, as well as kidnapping of Christian clerics in Nigeria is alarming. This has to be stopped at all costs. The Christian community must rise and come together to put an end to this,” chairman Amb. Belusochukwu Enwere declared, calling for the responsible parties to be “brought to book.”

Police also confirmed that armed men attacked a Christian church in Katsina state on Sunday, kidnapping 25 worshipers and leaving the pastor behind with injuries including a gunshot wound to the hand. Another priest, Rev. John Mark Chietnum, was kidnapped and murdered just last July in Kaduna state, in the northwest.

  • News Agencies

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