A church pastor in Nigeria who went missing on Oct. 19 has been captured along with two Christian women by militants of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), according to a video released by the terrorist group.
In the video clip uploaded on YouTube yesterday, the Rev Polycarp Zongo of the Church of Christ In Nations (COCIN) says the militants captured him and the women as they traveled from Jos, Plateau state to the city of Gombe in the state of the same name.
“On Monday, 19 October 2020, I was traveling to Gombe for a church conference when we encountered the caliphate’s armed men who captured me along the way; and right now I’m with them,” Pastor Zongo says in the Hausa language, appealing to the Plateau state governor, state Sen. I.D. Gyang, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and COCIN leaders to help secure his release. “They too, captured two Christian women who are also here with me. I’m appealing that you all do all that is possible to secure our release from captivity.”
Pastor Zongo leads the COCIN congregation of Wild Life Park Local Church Council (LCC), in Jos.
ISWAP in 2016 broke off from the rebel terrorist group Boko Haram, which originated in Maiduguri.
On Jan. 20, Boko Haram terrorists executed the Rev. Lawan Andami, district chairman of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) in Michika County, Adamawa state, and father of eight children.
On July 22, Islamic extremists released a video showing them executing five Nigerian men, with one executioner saying it was a warning to “all those being used by infidels to convert Muslims to Christianity.” Three of the men shot to death from behind on the video were identified as Christians by a resident of Borno state, where the executions apparently took place.
As a part of its strategy of attacking Christians in Nigeria, Islamic terrorists from both ISWAP and Boko Haram mount road blocks on major highways in the northeast, stopping vehicles to take Christians into captivity.
They use some of the captured Christians for negotiations with the Nigerian government to get more funds for their arms and operations. In cases when such negotiations fail, the male Christian victims are often executed and the women are held as sex slaves.
Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.