Gunmen Kidnap American Missionary In Central Nigeria
An american woman Phyllis Sortor has been kidnapped by masked gunmen at Hope Academy in Kogi State, Nigeria where she served as a missionary.
According to Police spokesman Sola Collins Adebayo, Sortor "was whisked away at around 10:00 am (0900 GMT) Monday."
"We are hopeful of finding her. Our suspicion is that she was picked up for ransom,"
The missionary is a member of Freetown Methodist Church, where ran a community organization at an affiliated school of the church in Emiworo village, in Kogi.
Devastated officials of the church have been praying for her safe return.
“We are calling on the U.S. church to join together in prayer for Phyllis’ safety and speedy release,” Bishop David Kendall said in a statement on the church’s website. He said the U.S. Department of State and the Federal Bureau of Investigation “are working with local authorities to find and rescue her.”
"The US Embassy has been notified, and the State Department and the FBI are working with local authorities to find and rescue her," Bishop Kendall said.
A close friend of Sortor described her as compassionate and courageous.
“She is very energetic and it’s all driven by her love for children and her desire to see them have education and opportunity,” said Mike Henry, a staff pastor with the Wenatchee Free Methodist Church in central Washington.
Sortor is about 70 years old of age. She took after the steps of her parents in becoming a missionary.
Born in Mozambique, she relocated to the United States for education. She and her husband - now deceased - moved to Nigeria after his retirement to teach Bible school and support “women’s literacy projects,”
This sad incident is the latest among several risks faced by religious missionaries and aid workers in the world we live today. Despite their noble work, in Africa and the Middle East, they have been exposed to deadly diseases such as Ebola and violent conflicts.
We hope she returns safely.