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Some of the parents of Chibok's kidnapped girls.
Some of the parents of Chibok's kidnapped girls.
Photo: World Watch Monitor

For the families of the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped from their dormitories three years ago, grief and despair have been compounded by fear, as the perpetrators of their agony continue to terrorize their town and carry out further abductions with impunity. A previous report on the school kidnapping is available here.

Since Boko Haram jihadists abducted 276 girls from their secondary school in the town of Chibok, in the northeastern state of Borno, 23 parents have died of heart disease while many continue to battle stress-related conditions. While 81 of the girls have since escaped or been rescued, it is believed that their captors -- who initially boasted that they would sell them as slaves -- have decided to hold on to their victims after realizing how valuable their high profile has made them. As a result, more than two-thirds of the girls are still missing.

The release of 21 girls last October briefly gave hope to the Chibok families and other Christians across northeast Nigeria who have been terrorized by Boko Haram for almost eight years. However, the girls have been detained for questioning and security purposes since their release and allowed to see their parents only a handful of times. To review a report on the release of these girls from terrorist captivity, click here.

Residents of Chibok are still fearful because Boko Haram has recently attacked nearby towns, and scores of families have been displaced to Mbalala, less than five kilometres from Chibok. There is now a heavy military presence in Chibok, and three of the town's 13 schools have only partially reopened. Parents are terrified of sending their children back to school in case Boko Haram strikes again, and church activities are carried out under heavy security.

A report by UNICEF has recently indicated a sharp rise in the number of children forced to carry out suicide bomb attacks -- from 30 in 2016 for the entire year to 27 in just the first three months of 2017. The agency added that Boko Haram's abduction of children is "systematic" and "fuelling" its insurgency in the Lake Chad region. The kidnapped girls are typically forced into early marriage and sexual slavery.

Ask the Lord to minister in special ways to the victimized children and their distraught families, and all in Nigeria who've experienced great pain and loss due to Boko Haram's acts of terrorism. May there be many more victims released from captivity and joyfully reunited with their long-suffering families. Pray that the country's governing officials will clearly sense God's leading as they work together with renewed strength and unity in their efforts to liberate the captives, secure communities, and bring the perpetrators to justice. In the midst of so much suffering, we trust that the Lord will fulfil His promise to somehow use what was intended for evil and turn it around for greater good (Genesis 50:20).

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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