A Nigerian pastor who serves as the education director of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) has been abducted by suspected Fulani herdsmen on Friday while he was traveling in central Nigeria's Plateau state.
According to Morning Star News, The Rev. Jen Tivkaa Moses and his driver, Yohanna Maina, were headed from Jos to Abuja to attend a church seminar planned for Aug. 5, when they were stopped by armed Fulanis on the Kafanchan-Kwoi-Bwari highway.
Maina, who is currently receiving treatment at a hospital in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for his injury, said that he last saw the pastor praying loudly while being held at gunpoint by the kidnappers.
"I am glad I survived this ordeal, and I pray that Rev. Moses comes out alive," the driver said. "I am saying this as, while the gunmen led us into the bush, Rev. Moses was praying very loud, and they disliked this so they were beating and threatening to kill him," he added.
The driver said that the kidnappers left him on the highway and told him to remain on it, or he would be killed by other gunmen located throughout the bushes.
Maina eventually arrived in a village where a young man helped him contact an ECWA pastor in a nearby village. He said that soldiers took him to a police station in Bwari where he filed a complaint. The police later took him to a hospital where he was treated for a gunshot wound on his right thigh.
ECWA officials confirmed the abduction and said that the kidnappers are demanding one million naira (US$2,730) for the pastor's release.
"The kidnappers were seven Fulani boys; they were below 20 years. The incident happened on Friday night between 8 and 9 pm," said Yunusa Nmadu, the General Secretary of ECWA.
Nmadu said that the incident was already reported at a police station somewhere in the Bwari Area Council.
However, Anjuguri Manzah, the Police Public Relations Officer [PPRO] for the FCT command, stated that he has yet to receive a report on the kidnapping.
"We have not received any report of such an incident. Yes, at that end, Bwari is a very big point and the biggest town. So, oftentimes, people describe everywhere as Bwari which shares the boundary with different states," Manzah said.
According to Nigerian news website Pulse, the authorities have been unable to put a stop on the activities of robbers and kidnappers, who are notorious for hijacking motorists and commuters along the Bwari-Jere road.
Nmadu said that the church will refrain from speaking publicly about the abduction to avoid jeopardizing the investigation and the efforts free the pastor from the kidnappers. "We will speak to the press after securing his release," he added.
On Monday, the church leaders and workers held prayer vigils for the abducted pastor at the conference hall in ECWA headquarters in Jos.