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PASTOR RELEASED: Boko Haram Extremists Release Nigerian Pastor Held Captive for 8 Months

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Rev. Polycarp Zongo of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) has been released by his abductors after being held captive since Oct. 19, 2020.

Through the efforts of Ambassador Ummu Kalthum Muhammad, chairperson, and founder of Kalthum Foundation for Peace, the pastor was freed from Boko Haram insurgents, Our Nigeria reports.

A video was released in November, showing Zango pleading for help from the Plateau State Government and his church.

"On Monday, 19 October 2020, I was traveling to Gombe for a church conference when we encountered the caliphate's armed men who captured me along the way, and right now I'm with them," said the pastor. "They too captured two Christian women who are also here with me. I'm appealing that you all do all that is possible to secure our release from captivity."

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Bulama Mohammed, executive director of the non-governmental organization, said attempts to free Zango and the others had been underway since January. 

Mohammed also indicated no ransom was paid to free the pastor.

"To the best of my knowledge, no ransom was paid to get the clergyman released. All I can say is that John Pofi Foundation encouraged and even pressurized KFP to get the reverend released because he was critically ill," Mohammed said.

Acts of violence against Christians in West Africa have risen this year and show no signs of stopping. These gunmen are often radical Muslims who target Christians in their relentless attacks on villages across the West African country.

CBN News previously reported Fulani militants were suspected of killing dozens of Christians, including children, on May 23.

Armed jihadist herdsmen reportedly "butchered to death" 14 Christians in Kwi village in Riyom County near Jos. In a separate attack that same day, eight Christians were killed in Dong village in Jos North County. 

Just a week earlier, eight Christians were killed and a church was burned down on May 19 during an attack by gunmen in the Chikun area of Kaduna State of Nigeria.

Nigeria ranks 9th on Open Doors' 2021 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution, but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith. 

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