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Fulani Evangelist Leaves Abuja Jail, Moves to Safe House

Recovering from Beatings by Mob and Later by Police

By Stephen Kefason

(Abuja) – After 9 harrowing days behind bars, Nigerian evangelist Musa Bello was granted bail late Friday evening, Feb. 16 and moved to a secure safe house, TruthNigeria has learned. Bello’s wife, Maryam Musa, confirmed his release in an exclusive chat with TruthNigeria. The Fulani Muslim convert, threatened with death by Fulani clerics, was brutally beaten and tortured, according to Ms. Bello. The charismatic preacher is known for bringing the Gospel message to Fulani tribes deep in the forests of northern Nigeria. Many of the 10 million Fulani citizens in Nigeria are hostile to Christianity, yet Fulani converts have a reputation for fearless evangelical campaigns.

“The police officers from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad beat my husband severely over this past week, injuring his back and leaving bruises all over his body,” she said. “But thanks be to God, tonight he will be able to sleep in his own bed as a free man for the first time in over a week.”  

“Either I find a place to hide, or I am going to die a martyr today,” Bello told to Judd Saul, founder of Equipping the Persecuted, a humanitarian aid NGO in Abuja.  The evangelist is scheduled to be seen by doctors on Saturday, which will be the first time he has gotten medical aid since being beaten by a mob on Feb 7 and later beaten by police during his 9-day incarceration. Police have not answered calls from TruthNigeria, nor have they given a statement as to why the evangelist was arrested and put in jail.

Bello was arrested on February 7th on the outskirts of Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja. The evangelist’s personal assistant, a Muslim man known as “Umar” allegedly was beaten to death by a mob of irate Muslim on that day. When Musa Bello went looking for his assistant and disciple, the same mob attempted to beat him to death, but police arrived in time to save his life, Mrs. Musa said.  

Bello was held for 9 days without charges by the police but held on suspicion of armed robbery, Ms. Bello told TruthNigeria. 

“This accusation is totally false and merely an excuse for the severe persecution my husband has faced solely because of his Christian faith,” Ms. Bello said.  

Now that Bello has been freed on bail pending further investigation, advocates hope the trumped-up charges against him will be dropped. 

However, the emotional trauma of Bello’s ordeal could have lasting impact. 

“My husband was already struggling with the grief and trauma of losing his dear brother Adamu, when the police ruthlessly seized him as well,” Ms. Bello said. “Now, on top of mourning his friend, he must work to heal from nine days of brutal torture.”  

She told TruthNigeria she is asking for Christians around the world to please pray for Musa Bello’s complete physical and emotional recovery.

Nigerian Christians are the most persecuted body of believers in the Christian world, according to Open Doors, a persecution watch group. More than 80 percent of the Christians killed each year are Nigerians, Open Doors has reported.

According to an April report by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), an NGO headquartered in Eastern Nigeria, at least 52,250 people have been killed over the last 14 years in Nigeria for being Christian.

Stephen Kefason covers terrorism and religious freedom issues for TruthNigeria.

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