Pastor cancels trip to NZ amid Ebola crisis

SIOBHAN DOWNES
Last updated 15:24 09/08/2014
poster advertising the search for Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau and other fighters is pasted on a wall in Baga village on the outskirts of Maiduguri,
Reuters

INCREASING VIOLENCE: A poster advertising the search for Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau and other fighters is pasted on a wall in Baga village in Northeastern Nigeria.

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A Nigerian pastor has been forced to cancel his trip to New Zealand amid the Ebola virus emergency.

William Kumuyi, the founder of the Deeper Life Bible Church, was due to travel to New Zealand next month to speak in Whangarei.

Kumuyi, a former professor of mathematics, has 120,000 members in his congregation - the largest Christian church congregation in Africa and the third largest in the world.

But pastor Graham Cruickshank of Northland's Life4U Trust, which was set to host Kumuyi's visit, said Kumuyi had contacted him last week to cancel the trip after travel across Africa has been suspended due to the Ebola virus.

Cruickshank said Kumuyi was also concerned about the increasingly violent actions against Christians in Nigeria by militant Islamic group Boko Haram and did not feel he could leave given the crises.

"They are going into various villages, killing Christians, burning down their houses, businesses and churches," Cruickshank said.

"They are trying to turn the whole of northern Nigeria into an Islamic state and they just do it by violence."

The group earlier this year claimed the kidnappings of 276 female students from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria.

Kumuyi was now looking at rescheduling his visit to next year, Cruickshank said.

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