Families of Two Murdered Nigerian Pastors Mourn Their Loss

Joseph Kurah,  murdered on 30 June, and Eunice Elisha, who was killed 10 days later. Twitter: @uncanny_sam / World Watch Monitor
Joseph Kurah,
murdered on 30 June, and Eunice Elisha, who was killed 10 days later.
Twitter: @uncanny_sam / World Watch Monitor

Thousands of people, including journalists from around the world, attended the funeral of Father Jacques Hamel, the French priest murdered on 26 July while presiding over Mass.

The attack on a French priest felt all too close to home for a Western audience, but, as World Watch Monitor reported last week, such events are taking place all the time in other parts of the world. (This interactive map provides some idea of the scope of the attacks.)

There was much less global coverage following the recent murders of two pastors in Nigeria.

Joseph Kurah, regional chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the central state of Nasarawa and a pastor of the Evangelical Church Winning All, was murdered on 30 June by suspected Fulani herdsmen on his farm in Obi.

Then on 9 July, Eunice Elisha, 42, assistant pastor at the Redeemed Church of God in the Kubwa region of the Nigerian capital, Abuja was killed. She was buried on 23 July; it would have been her birthday. Local media published photos of her husband, Olowale, and their seven children, all dressed in pale blue, standing next to her grave. Olowale explained how she came to die:

“About three weeks ago, my wife preached next to a mosque, while the imam in the mosque was also preaching. He stopped talking and listened to what Eunice was saying and then told his members to listen to what she was saying because she was speaking the truth about God. When she told me about this, I told her to be very careful.”

After a visit from a stranger who claimed to be a local imam and demanded money from Eunice, Olowale said he “began to feel very uncomfortable”.

He said: “[On 8 July] we prayed all night and Eunice led us in worship songs … Little did I know that this was the last time we would ever pray together. We went to sleep at about 4am. Eunice got up at about 5 and left for her morning preaching, as she did most mornings. She usually came back by about 6.30, but on that day, she didn’t return on time. As I lay in bed, I wondered what could be the matter.

“Meanwhile, my sons had gone out for football training. While they were playing, some boys told them that a woman had just been killed on their street, while she was preaching. Immediately they ran home, shouting.

“I jumped out of bed and ran to where the killing took place. I didn’t find my wife there. All I saw was a pool of blood. I asked the people standing around where my wife was and they told me police had taken her to the station in their van. I went down to the station and there I found the body of my wife.

“I broke down and cried. We were taken into the station and consoled. Eventually someone drove us home because I was in a state of shock.

“I lost my true companion.”

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SOURCE: World Watch Monitor