A family of four in Nigeria was shot and injured this week by armed assailants who invaded their home as they prayed in their sitting room.
According to religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), the attack was the latest in a series of armed assaults on Christian communities in both Plateau and Kaduna states that continue despite the coronavirus lockdown there.
CSW said attackers invaded the family's home in Ghana Ropp, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area (LGA), Plateau state on Tuesday evening.
Armed assailants, reportedly of Fulani origin, broke into the family's home and proceeded to shoot Rev Canon Bayo James Famonure, headmaster of Messiah College and leader of Calvary Mission (CAPRO) and Agape Missions, in the forehead and leg. His wife Naomi was shot in the back, and their sons Adua and Victor were shot in the feet, after which the assailants fled the area.
The family was later carried to hospital in the Plateau state capital, where Mrs Famonure underwent surgery to remove a bullet in her back, which had fortunately missed her spinal cord and other internal organs by inches.
The bullets fired Canon Bayo had not penetrated his forehead or hit the bone in his leg. Both are reported to be "tired, but in good spirits," and remain hospitalised, along with their son Victor.
Adua has now been discharged, and a security detail has been posted at the family's home.
CSW said the attack came two days after four members of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) were ambushed and killed by Fulani assailants as they travelled by motorcycle from Kwell village to Miango Town in Plateau state.
Last month the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) said that communities in three southern Kaduna LGAs had suffered coordinated armed attacks within a 48-hour period.
Rev Yunusa Nmadu, General Secretary of ECWA and CEO of CSW Nigeria, said: The relentless campaign of violence against Christian communities in Kaduna and Plateau, which continues despite the existence of lockdowns in both states, is both perplexing and entirely unacceptable.
"The fact that these armed assailants are able to attack at will constitutes a security emergency, and every relevant federal and state agency should be brought to bear to ensure the investigation, arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators and their enablers.
"The cycle of impunity must be brought to an end. Only the presence of security and justice will prevent retaliatory violence from taking hold. The time for federal and state authorities to guarantee security, welfare and the sanctity of life of the Christian community in these areas is long overdue."
Meanwhile, CSW said police in Kaduna state have arrested the alleged killer of 18-year-old seminarian Michael Nnadi, who was kidnapped along with three fellow students by men dressed in military fatigues after they invaded Good Shepherd Seminary in January.
In an interview with Nigerian media, his killer said he had murdered Mr Nnadi because he would not stop speaking about his faith.