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Marilyn with her parents
Photo: World Watch Monitor

A 16-year-old Coptic Christian girl, who had been abducted on June 28th, was released and safely returned to her family on September 30th after police located her in a city just outside of Cairo. At the time of her recovery, the police captured the kidnappers and placed them under arrest. Although Marilyn is from a village in the governorate of Minya, she was found in a city named 10th of Ramadan, which is situated several hundred kilometres away. The leader of the girl's church, Father Boutros Khalaf, announced that Marilyn had "not been treated well" by her kidnappers but she is "very happy to be back with her family."

Marilyn's disappearance was similar to that of other victimized Christian girls who were targeted by members of militant Islamist networks. After being kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam, the girls are then either married off or sold to strangers for large sums of money. According to a former kidnapper, one of the strategies used by militants involves gaining the girls' trust by having their male captors tell them that they love them and will even convert to Christianity for them. The unsuspecting girls who leave their family homes in this manner do so under false pretences, failing to realize that they are being manipulated and kidnapped.

While thankful for Marilyn's release, we're also mindful of the need to pray that she receives the proper emotional and spiritual healing necessary to maintain her strong faith and positive well-being. Please also intercede for the great number of girls currently being held captive and separated from their loved ones. (A previous report announcing the kidnapping of three other young women in recent months is available here.)