The murder of Taiwo Dokun, a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), by suspected Boko Haram militants in Dille, Borno State, has thrown church members into mourning and apprehension.
Mr. Dokun was killed on Monday in the Islamist insurgents’ attack on Dille village in Askira-Uba local government area of Borno State. Several members of the church who spoke to reporters in Maiduguri, the state capital, said the whereabouts of the late pastor's wife and their three children remained unknown.
“The family could have been abducted by the insurgents who took away many of the residents of the town,” said a church member. “The pastor’s family members have not been found since the attack and have not called any one,” he added.
Another source said the pastor’s residence was completely razed by the insurgents, adding, however, that the corpses of the missing relatives were not found in the debris.
Speaking from Dille on Friday, a church member, John Yakubu, offered details about how the pastor was killed in an attack that claimed more than 40 lives. “The pastor was in his house at about 6 a.m. when the insurgents attacked the village. His house was surrounded by the militants who shot and killed the pastor as he attempted to run,” said Mr. Yakubu.
“Pastor Taiwo was running to a neighbor’s house when he was shot in the head and the chest. Then one of the insurgents butchered him to make sure that he was dead,” said the source.
Mr. Yakubu said the insurgents subsequently went to the pastor’s house to set it on fire, adding that his family members were likely abducted then.
Two of the RCCG members said the late pastor might be buried in Mubi, Adamawa State. “The initial plan was to convey his corpse to Akure, the capital of Ondo State, for burial. But that plan may not work as his body has started decomposing,” said one source.
He added that the deceased pastor’s remains were embalmed at the Mubi General Hospital, but that the process was not properly done, leading to decomposition and a decision to bury him in Mubi.
The pastor’s death has caused great anger and
terror among RCCG churches in Maiduguri, the Borno State
capital. One congregant disclosed that many pastors who were compelled to remain in their parishes in violence-prone areas of the state were on a warpath with the regional oversee of
the church, Pastor Emmanuel Adegboyega Kalejaiye.
According to one of the pastors, “The death of Pastor Taiwo was too much for us to bear. We believe this could happen to any of us, especially with the insensitivity of our regional pastor to our plight.
“We are still looking for one of us who was abducted on January 6 by
the insurgents and we have frequently appealed that the parishes in some of these affected local government areas of Borno be closed for now, but the regional pastor refuses.”
The pastor disclosed that The Deeper Life Bible Church and Living Faith Ministry had closed their parishes in the local government areas worst hit by Islamist violence. “Our pastors have had to travel on deadly roads infested with Boko Haram to Maiduguri every month. It is by the grace of God that many of us are still alive today.”