eight kidnapped Christians have been let out

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The Nigerian military secures an area near Maiduguri, Nigeria, where a man was killed by suspected militants on February 16, 2019.(Photo: Reuters / Afolabi Sotunde)

Eight members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) who were abducted in Nigeria last month have been released.

The group was taken at gunpoint on a bus to Kaduna in northwestern Nigeria on March 26th to take part in the RCCG's Easter program “Let's Go Fishing”.

It is not clear who abducted the men, but northern regions of Nigeria have been plagued by attacks and ransom abductions by extremists.

The Nigerian newspaper Vanguard reported at the time that the kidnappers wanted a ransom from the church.

International Christian Concern, which reported on the group's release, said it was not known whether or not a ransom had been paid.

Kaduna Governor El Rufai recently said the ransom was used to fund the Boko Haram terrorist group behind the 2014 kidnapping of 276 Chibok school girls. After seven years, 111 of the girls remain missing.

The state of Kaduna recently spoke out strongly against the payment of ransom money.

"The position of the government of Kaduna state remains the same: the government will not negotiate with bandits or pay ransom," said Homeland Security Commissioner Samuel Aruwan.

"Anyone who claims to do so in any way will be prosecuted accordingly," she warned.

Even so, Christians thank God for releasing the group.

"Today I received the exciting news that our brothers who were in captivity by kidnappers have all been released and taken to hospital for examination and investigation," RCCG General Overseer Pastor Enoch Adeboye said on Twitter.

"Glory to Jesus. We pray for lasting peace in all troubled regions of the country in Jesus name."

International Christian Concern urges Christians to pray for Nigeria and all kidnapping victims who remain in captivity.

"Please pray for the safe return of all abductees," it said.

"Pray for their abductors that their hearts will be softened and that they will experience the love of Christ that leads to true repentance and salvation.

"Pray that the Lord will comfort grieving parents and families and that the Nigerian government will be wise in dealing with terrorists."

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