After being abducted on Christmas Eve by a faction of the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, a Nigerian pastor was released on his ransom deadline.
Bulus Yikura, the pastor of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN), was freed by Abubakar Shekau terrorists last Wednesday, right before his threatened execution date, CBN News reported – after he made numerous pleas to government and church leaders for them to help meet ransom demands.
Cries for help answered
Yikura was shown in three videos over the past few months calling for help – while terrorists stood threateningly behind him.
"I'm calling on President Muhammadu Buhari and the governor of Borno to help me because I have been given a one-week ultimatum today, Feb. 24," Yikura reportedly said in the last of the three videos, according to the Nigerian daily, Human Angle. "If you want me alive, I beg you in your capacity as president, the governor and our local government chairman to save me from this suffering."
He stressed the urgency of his hostage situation, as well as the consequences he would have to pay if the ransom was not met by the deadline.
"Please pray for me," the abducted pastor continued in the video that showed a screenshot of a Boko Haram terrorist standing with a knife poised behind the kneeling Yikura. "Today is the last day I will have the opportunity to call on you in your capacity as my parents and relatives in the country. Anyone who has the intention should help and save me. Please release me from this pain."
The last day to pay the ransom was last Wednesday – the day Yikura was released.
"According to witnesses, Yikura was abducted by the Islamic [terrorists] last December in Pemi village near Chibok in Borno state," CBN News recounted.
One in a thousand…
Yikura was just one of 990 Christians kidnapped in last year in Nigeria – the country that led the world in kidnappings, according to Open Doors, a ministry that serves the world's persecuted Church. When the Christian ministry unleashed its 2021 World Watch List, Nigeria ranked #9 amongst nations where it is the most dangerous to live as a Christian.
And when it comes to Christian martyrs, physical attacks, and besieged churches, Nigeria was also found to be at or near the top of the list.
"Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year (November 2019 - October 2020), at 3,530 – up from 1,350 in 2019, according to Open Doors' 2021 World Watch List," CBN News reported. "In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed – 270, according to the list."