Retired Nigerian church minister freed by kidnappers after colleague murdered

8 June 2021

A retired Nigerian church minister has been freed after being kidnapped in an attack in which another minister was killed.

Church colleagues confirmed the release of Joe Keke on 3 June and said the 75-year-old was undergoing medical treatment.

Retired church minister Joe Keke is undergoing medical treatment following his kidnapping ordeal

He was abducted on 20 May along with church minister Alphonsus Bello, 33, from a church in north-central Katsina State, Nigeria.

The body of the younger minister was found the following day in farmland near the church training school in Malunfashi.

Christians in Nigeria are often targeted for abduction, whether by Islamist militants or by bandits. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has warned of a “Christian genocide” if the government of Nigeria cannot protect Christians from Islamist terrorism.

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