A Nigerian pastor and his 3-year-old son were murdered in their home by an Islamist gang in the latest attack on clergy in the country.
According to local media reports, Pastor Leviticus Makpa and his family were targeted by radicalized locals for their Christain beliefs. In late May, the gang surrounded and attacked the family in their home, killing the pastor and his son while his wife and daughter escaped.
“Our missionary brother, Pastor Leviticus Makpa, was shot dead with his son by Fulani bandits,” local Deborah Omeiza told the media.
Pastor Makpa was living in the remote village of Kamberi where he established a Christian mission and a school.
The assailants were nomads from Nigeria’s Fulani ethnicity. Fulani gangs and militias have been inspired by other larger Islamist groups active in the country such as ISIS, primarily attacking Christian farmers.
According to Samuel Solomon, a colleague of Pastor Makpa, the pastor had been targeted by the group before but managed to evade them.
“Fulani bandits came against them, they hid in the cave to save their lives, and after they left, he went back to the field with his family; how many of us can do this?” he said.
“He eventually lost his life and that of his son; the wife and daughter escaped. He knew his life was at stake, but burden for souls won’t let him run away from the field.”
In recent years, Islamist attacks on Christians in Nigeria and the rest of Africa have worsened as African extremist groups are aided by extremists fleeing the collapse of the ISIS caliphate in the Middle East.
According to one Nigerian civil rights group, at least 1,470 Nigerian Christians have been killed because of their faith so far this year, with up to 2,200 more being kidnapped.
Clergy such as Pastor Makpa have become targets for extremist attacks. In recent months many clergy have been kidnapped and killed on account of their faith.