Pastor and Six Family Members Burned to Death in Nigeria
Christian Leaders Suspect Muslim Fanatics of Fatal Arson Attack

by Obed Minchakpu

KANO, Nigeria (Compass) -- A zealous Christian
preacher in the northern Nigeria city of Kano and six
members of his family died in a house fire on April 22.
Christian leaders in the city believe Muslim militants
deliberately set the fatal blaze.

Pastor Sunday Madumere and his family were asleep in the
early hours of the morning when flames engulfed their
home, located on Apple Avenue in an area of Kano known
as no-man's land.

Eyewitnesses told Compass that the pastor's wife and three
children died with him in the inferno, along with two men
believed to be relatives of Madumere.

Pastor Madumere's son Daniel reportedly managed to
escape before being trapped in the house with other
members of the family. Christopher Ahiante, a neighbor of
the family, said that Daniel Madumere sustained serious
injuries and is presently in critical condition in a local
hospital.

According to Ahiante, "It took well over two hours before
the fire was brought under control by the men of the
Nigerian Fire Service."

Pastor Madumere is known for his powerful preaching,
which has led many Muslims in Kano to convert to the
Christian faith. Observers believe the conversions may
have angered Muslim militants in the city and they decided
to eliminate him.

Police authorities say the fire may have been caused by an
electrical fault. Christian leaders, however, have ruled out
that theory, insisting that the pastor and his family were
victims of religious intolerance.

"This incident is not the first of its kind here," said Rev.
Gabriel Ojo of the First Baptist Church in Kano city. "A
number of Christians here and their leaders have been
killed in the past by Muslim fanatics."

Rev. Ojo said that some years ago, extremists murdered
Gideon Akaluka, a Christian, and carried his severed head
through the streets. To date, government authorities have
failed to punish the killers.

Bishop Nyam of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican
Communion, added, "Since the adoption of the Islamic
legal system here, we have been forced into difficult
situations. Christians have suffered because Muslim
fanatics have taken the law into their hands."

"We are not surprised at all about this incident," he added.
"We saw it coming."

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