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The Nigerian military has made significant gains against the Boko Haram terrorist group in the past 18 months, raiding a number of the group's camps in Nigeria's vast Sambisa forest, and freeing at least a thousand women and children who were taken captive during other mass abductions.

Yet, in none of the raids have any rescued prisoners or captured fighters been able to give convincing accounts of meeting or seeing the Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped on the night of April 14, 2014. The militant group's leader, Abubakr Shekau, had previously demanded the release of jailed comrades in exchange for the girls. But a deal along those lines -- brokered by the Red Cross -- fell through after Nigerian prison officials said that the commanders on a list given to them by Boko Haram were not in their custody.

The terrorist group is now seeking a large ransom for the release of the remaining 219 schoolgirls. (Some of the girls have thankfully managed to safely escape captivity.) The sect is thought to have issued the demand during secret contacts with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari who has announced his willingness to negotiate for the girls' freedom. A previous report on the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls may be reviewed here.

Another encouraging step has recently been made by the government. Nigeria's Defence Headquarters launched "Operation Safe Corridor," a program to rehabilitate repentant Boko Haram fighters through camps where they will be offered jobs and training in return for undergoing biometric profiling. The military said some 800 fighters have already signed up for the program, and that other similar camps will be available across northeast Nigeria in ensuing months.

While we can be so very grateful for the wonderful gains made thus far, please pray for the success of the rehabilitation program. May many more Boko Haram members firmly resolve to leave their former deeds of evil behind them, and instead reach for the greater plans God has in store for their future. Ask the Lord to continue ministering to the abducted victims being held against their will – resulting in their liberty from captivity, reunion with concerned family members, and the restoration of their lives. Uphold Nigeria's governmental leaders as they seek to bring an end to the violence, rehabilitate insurgents, and provide protection for the civilian population. May He bless them with wisdom, strength and discernment.

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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