(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

Former Nigerian president,
Goodluck Jonathan (in hat),
stands with newly sworn-in
President Buhari during
the inauguration.
Photo: Flickr
U.S. Department of State

Within recent weeks, hard-liners from the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram have murdered nearly 100 people in attacks ranging from Maiduguri and its surrounding towns in Borno State, to Madagali in Adamawa State of northeast Nigeria. During its six-year history of military offensives, Boko Haram has murdered more than 15,000 people, primarily targeting Christians who have faced slaughter, forced conversion, kidnapping and rape.

In April of 2014, the terrorist group abducted 276 young girls from a government school in Chibok. Some have escaped, but most remain in captivity. Nigeria's president, Muhammadu Buhari, announced that he is prepared to negotiate with Boko Haram to secure the release of the approximate 200 remaining schoolgirls. Unfortunately, intelligence had no report on the girls' whereabouts or their health. A previous report on the abduction of the schoolgirls is available here.

President Buhari took office in May of last year with a promise to defeat the group, giving the military a deadline to end the six-year insurgency by the end of 2015. Since his inauguration, Boko Haram has killed nearly 2,000 people. Although the terrorists have been successfully driven out from most of the areas in northeastern Nigeria that were formerly under their control, they have continued to carry out suicide bombings and raids into the neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger. While the military has managed to free hundreds of Boko Haram captives in recent months, the groups released didn't include any of the Chibok schoolgirls. To learn more about the rescue of the hostages, click here.

Please continue to pray for the surviving victims in Nigeria who have been targeted and attacked by Boko Haram, as well as the loved ones of those who were tragically killed. May these grieving believers not despair in their sufferings but, instead, look to the Lord for strength, comfort, healing and hope. Ask Him to make a way for negotiations to take place between President Buhari and Boko Haram, resulting in the safe release of the remaining captured Chibok students. In the meantime, intercede for the protection of these young girls -- physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually -- and that God's assurance will bring needed encouragement to their distraught families. Despite the dangers and threats faced by Christians in this country, may their faith remain strong and undaunted, serving as a vibrant testimony to others in need of the Lord's salvation, including the members of Boko Haram and their sympathizers.