Monday, June 13, 2011

Pastor, church official killed in Nigeria

The Rev. David Usman and his wife
at his 2009 ordination.
Muslim extremists from the Boko Haram sect shot and killed a Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) pastor and his church secretary in Maiduguri, in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno state, on June 7.

Compass Direct News is reporting that the Rev. David Usman, 45, and church secretary Hamman Andrew were the latest casualties in an upsurge of Islamic militancy that has engulfed northern Nigeria this year.

The Rev. Titus Dama Pona, pastor with the Evangelical Church Winning All in Maiduguri, told Compass that Pastor Usman was shot and killed by members of the Boko Haram near an area of Maiduguri called the Railway Quarters, where the slain pastor’s church is located. Pona said Christians in Maiduguri have become full of dread over the violence of Boko Haram, which seeks to impose Shariah (Islamic law) on northern Nigeria.

“Christians have become the targets of these Muslim militants—we no longer feel free moving around the city, and most churches no longer carry out worship service for fear of becoming targets of these unprovoked attacks,” Pona said.

The Rev. Logan Gongchi of COCIN’s Kerang congregation in Jos, Plateau state, told Compass that area Christians were shocked at the news of Usman’s murder. “We knew him to be very gentle, an introvert, who was always silent in the class and only spoke while answering questions from our teachers,” Gongchi said. “He had a simple lifestyle and was easygoing with other students. He was very accommodating and ready at all times to withstand life’s pressures.”

The killing of Pastor Usman marks the second attack on his church premises by Muslim militants. The first attack came on July 29, 2009, when Boko Haram militants burned the church building and killed some members of the congregation.

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