Mastermind of church fire that killed seminary student in Nigeria arrested

Police in Nigeria on March 22 arrested the leader of an arson attack on a Catholic Church building in September that left a seminary student dead, sources said.

Police in Kaduna state said Saidu Yakubu has confessed to leading the attack on St. Raphael's Catholic Church in Fadan Kamanta, Kafanchan Diocese, Jema'ah District, on September 7. Seminary student Stephen Na'aman Danladi died when the rectory was burned down.

Mansir Hassan, spokesman for the Kaduna State Police Command, said in a statement last Saturday that officers arrested Saidu, known as Ismail M, “who was involved in banditry, culpable homicide and solicitation by fire.”

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“On September 7, at about 2030hrs, the officer in charge of Fadan Kamanta, Zonkwa, alerted authorities to a distressing situation at the St. Raphael Catholic Church, Kamantan, where suspected kidnappers had launched an attack,” said Hassan. “Due to diligence and the tireless handling of the matter by the police, on March 22, one Yakubu Saidu, the alleged mastermind and leader of the notorious kidnapping gang, was apprehended and he confessed his involvement in the heinous crime. “

An area bishop previously said attackers, unable to enter the home of the parish priest they sought to kidnap, instead set it on fire. The pastor, Pastor Emmanuel Okolo, and his assistant managed to escape, but the fire killed Danladi, 25.

Nigeria remained the deadliest place in the world to follow Christ, with 4,118 people killed for their faith from October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023, according to Open Doors' 2024 World Watch List (WWL) report . More kidnappings of Christians than in any other country also took place in Nigeria, with 3,300.

Nigeria was also the third highest country in the number of attacks on churches and other Christian buildings, such as hospitals, schools and cemeteries, with 750, according to the report.

In the 2024 WWL of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria was ranked number 6, as it was in the previous year.

This article was originally published by Christian Daily International.


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