Christian doctor Robert Whittaker abducted in Nigeria
Dr. Robert Whittaker was at his home on the compound of Nigerian Christian Hospital with his wife, Annette, and son, Ozioma, when a vehicle of armed men pulled up to the compound mid-morning Sunday, Aug. 2.
The kidnappers shot one of the compound’s security guards and entered the home. Whittaker was shot once in the arm during the attack, said Jerry Canfield, chairman of the board of Searcy, Ark.-based International Health Care Foundation, which operates the hospital.
The kidnappers took Whittaker and left his wife and son. Annette Whittaker received minor injuries in the attack and the security guard was expected to recover from his injuries, Canfield told The Christian Chronicle.
Canfield asked for prayers for the Whittakers and the staff of Nigerian Christian Hospital, which is negotiating for Robert Whittaker’s release.
The hospital, launched in 1965 by missionary physicians including Dr. Henry Farrar, is located near the border of Nigeria’s Abia state, near the southern Nigerian city of Aba. A wave of kidnappings, which started south of Aba in the Niger River delta, has spread to Abia state in recent months, Canfield said.
Tom Carr, executive director of International Health Care Foundation, led a team of American medical missionaries on a campaign to Nigeria recently and was in transit back to the U.S. when he learned of Whittaker’s kidnapping. Two American nurses working at Nigerian Christian Hospital also are returning to the U.S., Canfield said.
Robert Whittaker studied medicine in Cardiff, Wales, and was baptized during a gospel meeting by British minister Albert Winstanley.
Whittaker went to Nigeria in 1975 after reading an article by Dr. Henry Farrar in the church publication Firm Foundation, encouraging physicians to spend vacation time at Nigerian Christian Hospital. The West End Church of Christ in Nashville, Tenn., sent Farrar to serve as the first located doctor at the hospital in 1964 and continues to support his work.
The Chronicle will post updates as they become available.