As violence in certain parts of Nigeria continues to escalate, a Catholic priest living in the Paikoro area in the northwestern part of the country was burnt alive on Sunday by gunmen and bandits who may have been attacking him for his faith.

Rev. Isaac Achi was killed by gunmen in the middle of the night after they attempted to enter his home and, being unable to do so, set it on fire instead. He burned alive in the process. A second priest who lived in the compound, Father Collins, was able to escape with a gunshot wound, according to ABC News.

Achi, who headed the Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in the area, was a well-known local religious figure. And while officials have yet to come up with a motive for the actions of the gunmen, armed groups in the area have been known to target non-Muslim clerics and priests in the largely Muslim-majority area, Reuters reported.

The act also reportedly ties into the escalating amount of kidnappings in the area, where thousands are killed and people are abducted for ransom. Just in July last year, Rev. John Mark Chietnum was murdered after being kidnapped by armed groups.

Local authorities and security forces tend to be overwhelmed by the roving armed groups, and killers in the area are rarely detained for their actions. This incident has also raised possible fears about the upcoming election due to the potential lack of proper security from violence in the area.

Local and international officials have ended up condemning the actions of the unknown gunmen. Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani called the act “cowardly and inhuman” while Niger State Gov. Sani Bello called the killing “a sad moment.”

“These terrorists have lost it and drastic action is needed to end this ongoing carnage,” he said.

Nigeria's Christian Association has called for more to be done to keep the clerics and priests and other Christians in the area safe, but it is unclear at the moment if there is a government plan to do so in the area.

Nigeria Priest Killing Rep. Pic
A Catholic priest in Nigeria was burned alive inside of his house on Sunday as violence and disorder in the northern parts of the country continue due to the lack of adequate security forces in the area. This is a representational image. Nazim Coskun/Unsplash.

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