A British missionary who was abducted in Nigeria two months ago is dead, but three fellow hostages have since been freed.
According to the Daily Mail, 57-year-old Ian Squire’s companions say he was simply trying to lift their spirits by singing ‘Amazing Grace’ when one of their captors shot him in cold blood.
David Curry from Open Doors says Squire was doing medical work in Nigeria, and his captivity and death reveal a serious problem in the country.
“It’s just another example of what’s happening in Nigeria, although in a different vein. Nigeria is a country that’s divided into—you’ve got the southern portion that’s largely Christian, but you have tribal factions in the north. You have these extremists from Boko Haram. It’s a country that is being pulled in a lot of directions,” Curry told Mission Network News.
Curry doesn’t expect Christian persecution in Nigeria to get any better.
“We see Africa as the prime theater of persecution in the next ten years because the population of Christians is so high—the young demographic group—and there’s so much corruption and violence there that Christians are just being attacked in massive numbers,” he said.
Despite the grim news, Curry says it is time for the church to pray for the persecuted, especially around Christmas time.
“Christmas is such a dangerous time for most Christians around the world—in the Middle East, across Africa, in countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, anywhere where Christians are going to celebrate the birth of Christ, so we need to be praying for them,” he said.
Nigeria ranks as no. 12 on the Open Doors World Watch List of countries where Christians face the worst persecution.