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Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.
Wikipedia via Morning Star News

It has recently been reported that the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok (in Borno state) has been seized by Boko Haram militants. Since the group's abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in April of 2014, this mainly Christian town has been frequently mentioned in international news headlines. Boko Haram has also repeatedly targeted the villages surrounding Chibok in recent months in its fight to create an Islamic state within Nigeria.

Borno state senator Ali Ndume reported that security forces posted in Chibok ran from the area during the attack as they were greatly outnumbered by the insurgents. A vigilante who was present at the time, in his effort to assist with the defense of the town, now serves as an eye witness of the scene. "You couldn't count (the militants) because there were so many," he testifies. "All the security and the soldiers ran away and left us on our own. They didn't shoot at them, they just ran. All the ammunition we had was finished, so there was no way we could attempt to hold the area."

Since the kidnapping of the schoolgirls, much concern has been raised over the fact that the area is not well protected. (For our previous report on the kidnapping incident, please click here.) As a result, thousands of Chibok residents have fled their hometown community, hoping to find safety in other parts of the country. In the midst of this perilous situation, especially considering the large number of abducted girls who have yet to be rescued from captivity, it is encouraging to learn from the officials and residents of Mubi (also located in northeastern Nigeria) that the army has managed to recapture their town from Boko Haram's control. To learn more about the challenges facing our Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria, you may review VOMC’s country report.

First of all, let us pray for God's perfect peace to calm the distraught hearts of the kidnapped girls and their families, as well as those of their once close-knit Chibok community (Philippians 4:7). May He reveal the whereabouts of the girls who are still being held captive so they can be safely rescued and joyfully reunited with their loved ones. In the meantime, pray that they will be sheltered from any potential harm or abuse at the hands of their captors. God's Word also instructs us to pray for the persecutors of His people -- those who themselves are in desperate need of rescue from the captivity of the evil one and his works of destruction.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC works with in-country partners to encourage and strengthen persecuted Christians through a variety of methods. Christians are equipped with audio bibles to distribute to their persecutors. Christian widows receive skills training and trauma counselling as a way to provide an income for their families and heal from the trauma they’ve faced in losing their husbands. Children who have lost parents and relatives due to attacks are provided with a safe place to grow and be nurtured. Medical fees are paid for Christians who have suffered injuries due to attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani. Discipleship and vocational training are given to Muslim Background Believers to help them start their new lives spiritually and practically. The Glenn Penner Scholarship Award is used to help equip persecuted Christians completing their Masters and have a heart to share the Gospel with the lost in their community.

Project Funds: Women’s Ministry, Bibles, Medical Fund, Families of Martyrs, Equipping the Saints, Relief & Development

Country Information

Population
219,463,862 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Hausa (30), Yoruba (15.5), Igbo (15.2), Fulani (6), Tiv (2.4), Kanuri/Beriberi (2.4), Ibibio (1.8), Izaw/Izon (1.8), Other (24.7)

Religion (%)
Islam (53.5), Christianity (45.9), Other (0.6)

Leader
President Muhammadu Buhari (2015)

Government type
Federal presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law (in 12 northern states), and traditional law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Nigeria

May God minister great comfort and healing to all who have been injured or bereaved as a result of the militants' brutal attacks. In addition, pray for the remaining abducted Chibok schoolgirls, that they will be assured of the Lord's abiding presence as they await release from captivity. Continue to uphold President Buhari and other members of the Nigerian government as they make further attempts to rescue the remaining girls and provide protection for vulnerable citizens. As they persevere in their endeavours to overcome terrorism, may they be granted wisdom, courage, strength and help from on high.

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