Date:  January 7, 2020

Local Council CAN Chairman in Northern Adamawa Remains Missing

Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) –International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Boko Haram, an Islamic insurgent group based out of northeastern Nigeria, kidnapped a church leader from Michika town in Adamawa State, Nigeria. Reverend Lawan Andima, who serves as the Local Council Chapter Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and also a pastor with the Church of the Brethren (EYN) at the District Church Council of Michika, was abducted when the insurgent group attacked the town on January 2 around 7:00 p.m. Reverend Lawan Andima is 58 years old, married, and the father of nine children.

Reacting to the abduction, the Vice Chairman of the Adamawa State Chapter of CAN, Reverend Philip Shehu, said, “Yes, he was abducted. I still don’t have much information about him at present.”  Reverend Philip confirmed that Reverend Lawan is a pastor with the EYN, adding, “Truly we have been greatly concerned since it happened. We called for concerted prayers for him. Even at the commissioning of our Secretariat last week, we also took time to pray for him.  We are still calling on fellow Christians everywhere to join us in earnest prayers for his release from the captors.”

Narrating the incident, the EYN General Secretary, Rev. Daniel, said that when the insurgents struck that day, Rev. Lawan, his wife, and their children immediately fled from their home. However, the pastor quickly returned, intending to get a car to help more people escape. Then, the intensity of the attack increased. Sounds of deafening gunfire came from nearby, so Rev. Lawan’s wife and children quickly fled to the bush. Rev. Daniel explained, “He (Rev. Lawan) then came out of the house, along with the church security guard, to flee. They noticed a Hylux van by the roadside and thought it was soldiers, so they moved on. The security guard first crossed the road and headed to the bush. He then turned to look out for the pastor, but noticed that he had disappeared!”

The following day, additional information was revealed to the EYN General Secretary. Some women who were in hiding said that they saw the pastor being dragged into the Hylux van and taken away.

Wearied by the mounting attacks on the Church and Christians in the region, the EYN General Secretary lamented, “I have said it over and over that religious violence has festered and, in truth, the Church in Nigeria is under serious persecution.” This attack and abduction came just one week after Boko Haram beheaded 10 Christian aid workers on film.

Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, said, “As Boko Haram, particularly the ISWAP faction, continues to grow in strength and power, we are likely to see more of these attacks on Christians and the Church. Their recent video showed that they have a special hatred for Christianity and will be brutal toward those whom they hold captive. We are praying for Pastor Lawan and his family as they go through this tough time. We hope to see him returned safe and unharmed in the near future.”

HOW TO PRAY: Pray for the quick and safe return of Rev. Lawan. Pray for peace for his family during his time in captivity. Pray for an end to Boko Haram’s kidnappings.