Nigerian Methodist leader kidnapped

Samuel Kanu

The head of the Nigerian Methodist Church, Samuel Kanu, and two other pastors were kidnapped on their way back from a church event.

Local police told the BBC the men were abducted while driving on a major highway in the southeastern state of Abia on Sunday.

It is unclear who is responsible, but separatist groups regularly carry out kidnappings in the area.

Police said they had launched a rescue mission to find the clergy.

Kidnapping, usually for ransom, is common in many parts of Nigeria.

Attacks by armed gangs, including the Islamic militant group in the north, have also resurfaced as the country prepares for elections next year.

Much of the unrest in southeastern Nigeria stems from separatists demanding a secession of the country.

The government has blamed the Biafran Indigenous Movement (Ipob) for many of the attacks in the area, which Ipob denies. But the group continued to enforce stay-at-home orders on Monday, usually before carrying out attacks on Sunday night, to intimidate people into complying.

However, it was unclear who kidnapped the clerics on Sunday, and some recent violent attacks in the country remain unresolved.

Recently, a local MP was kidnapped by unknown gunmen. His headless body was later found.

In April, a military man and woman who wished to marry were beheaded as they traveled to the area to inform relatives of their planned wedding.

In a separate incident on Sunday morning, two people were kidnapped when gunmen entered their home in Rafia, Nasarawa state, near the capital, Abuja. One person was shot dead in the attack.

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