Never Before Released Account of Moments Leading Up to Bro. Leviticus’s Death
Hello brethren, as you know we have been sharing the story since the death of our brother Leviticus or Levi as he is affectionately called. He passed away to glory about one month ago on the 21st of May. We have been following this incident and things leading up to it closely and without a small number of prayers. The death of missionary Leviticus was an attack, an attack on the body of Christ, and we are stronger for it.
The brutal killing of him and his son by bandits is something that Satan wanted to use to cause discouragement and raise fear in our hearts. However, the enemy has been proven wrong. Many testimonies and support have come in since the passing of our brother. Some of Leviticus’s friends have taken up the mantle of becoming missionaries. Support and condolences have come far and wide for his wife Mrs. Benita Makpa. Likewise, there has been a show of support and concerns towards the children Leviticus raised. Thank you all for your incredible show of support.
This blog will account for the things that led up to the death of our brother Leviticus. This is a first-hand account from a friend and colleague of Leviticus, Brother Barnabas. Brother Barnabas lives in a village close to the mission base of the late brother Leviticus. We have an audio of us talking with brother Barnabas about the moments leading up to Leviticus’s death. Please listen attentively.
In this audio, we hear the conversation between Missionary Emmanuel Gamaliel, Team Leader Sanmi Ayotunde, Team member Demilade Adetuberu and Brother Barnabas. The audio is a firsthand account of a close colleague of the late Missionary Leviticus Makpa.
The Bandits Activities
There have been a lot of Bandits activities in brother Leviticus’s community. This all started last year around October/November, the bandits would come to a community and kidnap people from this community, then later ask for a ransom. If the community does not pay, they will threaten to kill the people they Kidnapped. Some communities were taxed 13 million Naira, others 15 million Naira, 10 million Naira depending on how much they determine the community would be able to raise. People were providing them with information of people in the community and what the community was capable of raising.
Finally, the day came when bandits kidnapped people from Bro Leviticus’s community. They have taxed 13,000 Naira for their release. After that incident, things seemed entirely down for a bit.
What Are the Bandits like?
There were different group of bandits. Each of these bandit groups had its operation. One group would come to kidnap people in a community and tax the community for ransom money. As these groups of kidnapping bandits leave, they will tell the people of the community to be ready to receive a new group of bandits. At first we all thought it was a joke, but sadly it was not. Another group would come after the kidnapping bandits. This group would threaten the people, kill, and steal their cattle in the hundreds. When this cattle thieving bandits are leaving they would say that another group of bandits will come after them. This last group of bandits are similar to scavengers. These bandits come for every last scrap the community has left. The people called them Gatmajagara, which means “rake.”
While we have heard of them attacking a few distant villages, it was only recently that these bandits began raiding the areas where brother Barnabas and bro Leviticus live. According to Bro Barnabas “, they made the road that passes through Leviticus mission house one of their major road to wherever they’re going.” Whenever these bandits are moving out, the villagers would tell one another those people are coming out, so be careful. While the bandits are on the move, bro Levi and I will be communicating with each other. We will inform each others about the bandits movement. This situation went on until the week when he was killed.
Timeline Leading to the Tragic Incident on May 21st
On Monday, 17th of May, these bandits once again passed the route close to Bro Levi’s house. Bro Levi had just returned from his younger brother’s wedding that weekend. We were in communication that day, and he told me when they were passing by, and they also saw when they were coming back. He also told me their numbers. The bandits move on motorcycles, three or two people to every bike. When they were heading out, bro Levi counted over 30 bikes. When they were returning he counted over 70 motorcycles. The bandits had moved out in separate groups but came back altogether. Remember, each bike carries two to three people, so if you multiply the numbers, you can imagine how many bandits there are.
On Friday morning, the news went out again those bandits are coming out again, so be watchful. I called his phone, but his line was not going through, I called his colleague, but I could not reach them either. Finally, I called one of his colleagues that travelled to Jos and told him the situation. I asked if he knew anyone around that I could call and find out what is happening. Later, I got a call from bro Levi and we kept on communicating through the night. When we spoke, he told me that he saw bandits passing in two groups. One group went one way and the other group took another way.
At around 12 or 1 am, he said they were running to hide somewhere west of their mission house near a stream. While in that hideout, they saw bandits coming towards their direction. So, they ran back to their compound, but Bro Levi felt that the compound was not safe, and he decided they should hide in a neighbor’s hut. Before he got to the hut we had spoken, and he told me where they were and what the situation was. However, while they were in the hut he could not answer my call. Instead, we were texting. he asked us to keep praying for them and told me the situation of things. The bandits were destroying the things in their compound. This was the last thing I heard from him.
About thirty minutes later, I tried calling again, but the bro Levi’s line wasn’t connecting. I tried calling other people I knew were with him, but their line was not connecting either. The lack of communication was unsettling, but I decided he probably switched off his phone to prevent it from giving out his location. Later, I kept trying and trying, but it still was not connecting. It was then it dawned on me that something was very wrong.
Getting the News
Later that night, we reached someone. That person told me of Leviticus’s passing. But I was very doubtful, I told him that we should confirm with the people in Bro Levi’s village first. So we waited, we waited for news. Around 8 pm that night, the wife called with an unknown number. I told her we had tried to reach them and asked her what had happened. She was like “it is well”, but I cut her short and asked her what the situation was. She replied, “my husband O and my son.” I said what about it, what happened and she explained to me. After listening, I was shocked and hung up the call.
That night we tried to reach out to one or two people around. The person we reached out to was hiding in a tree. he confirmed that Levi and his son Godsend were dead but he could one or two people still groaning in the room. He told us the bandits were still there. The following day we called and heard that the bandits were still there. It was more of a 24 hours operation, and it seemed the bandits camped there for a night. When we got there we saw their cooking fire still burning. We saw that they had destroyed Leviticus mission home. The house was scattered, clothes were thrown all over, and the widows were broken.
Then we went to the hut and found bro Levi and his son dead. I confess, I had not believed what I heard even after hearing from his wife until when I got there and saw it for myself.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Benita Makpa had this experience. Seeing her husband get shot and then her son with her own very eyes, I can only imagine what she went through. What baffles us the most is that they singled him out, pointed the gun at him, and shot him in the head. Mrs. Benita’s account is that someone pointed him out from outside.
The Intervention of the Military
People, both at home and abroad, kept praying that God would intervene in the situation, and he did. The situation then was terrible, the bandits were on the move daily, and people were on the run trying to escape them. It had become an everyday affair. On June 18th, these same bandits attacked Federal Government College (FGC), Birnin Yauri, in Kebbi and kidnapped several student and teachers. You can read more about this on CNN: Students and teachers abducted by armed men in Nigeria’s Kebbi State.
On June 19th, the military and local task force joined hands to rescue this student and route out this bandit plague. The bandits were killed massively. Law enforcement engaged the bandits at a place called Sabon Gari. They killed about 100 of them and killed more the following day. People saw them on the run for their lives. The military ambushed them and killed them in droves. The leader of one of the bandit groups, the Majegara, was also captured.
Question & Answers (Q&A)
Q. Who are these bandits are they part of the community or from another place?
A. They are from another place entirely. however, it is the people from within the community that feeds them information. One of the bandits exposed some people who were giving them information. We discovered that some of this Alhaji was always with them.
Q. How are they able to get ammunition? I was told that some were wearing military uniforms
A. At times, when they launch an attack, they encounter the military. Unfortunately, sometimes they can overpower them and steal their uniform. Also, on that day, the bandits attacked FGC Kebbi there was an unusual movement of a fighter jet around that location. Whenever there is a movement of a plane around a location, it is either those bandits are in operation or they are about to attack.
Q. Wow, so this bandits have a military jet? I don’t understand that, could you explain more?
A. The truth is that this bandit’s activity is political, and people at the top are involved. In one incident, they arrested some bandits using a helicopter suspected to belong to Abdulsalami Abubakar, Former Nigerian Deputy Head of State. When they reach out to him, former vice president Abubakar confessed it was indeed his helicopter but denies aiding the bandits. He said he had loaned out his helicopter, but banditry was not the purpose he gave it out. Later the allegation was kept under wraps, and nobody is talking about it anymore.
The state of things in Nigeria is leaning toward Jihad. This seems to be what is happening. These bandits kill innocent children, women, and poor people. Apart from the money they get from stealing and ransoms, they leave destruction and death in their wake. This does not seem to be a reasonable political strategy. I am left wondering what they gain from this. Why do they do this? What is the goal?
Though this is a question we don’t seem to have the answer to, the state of things in Nigeria is sobering. People are dying every day, lives are wasted. We can only speculate that they are just as confused. God worked things around so they could not achieve their original aim of Jihad.
Let’s keep Nigeria in our prayers, the orphans, widows, and the poor in our prayers. Pray that God will turn things completely around for good and that end will come to the killings, kidnappings and robbing happen in this nation. Amen!