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A large number of captive girls gathered in front of Boko Haram flags
Girls abducted from a school in Chibok, Nigeria, during 2014.
Photo: Screenshot

Eight years ago, over 200 girls were abducted from a secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria, and held hostage by Boko Haram, a militant Islamic group that is fiercely opposed to what they define as "Western education." Over the years, a number of the former schoolgirls managed to escape, and more than 100 others have been freed through negotiations. Unfortunately, approximately 100 of the seized students were still missing.

In recent weeks, however, the Nigerian army has located several more of these former schoolgirls, most of them now with children who were borne during their years of enslavement to the Boko Haram captors. Two of the young women were rescued this June (read more). A few weeks later, the army announced that three more victims had been freed. On August 13th, a further report revealed that another former schoolgirl, Aisha Grema, was also brought to safety, along with her four-year-old child.

These recent releases add to ongoing speculation that Boko Haram may be declining in their influence. The group has faced increasing pressures from the Nigerian military, along with internal wranglings and clashes with ISWAP in a fight for supremacy. Although pockets of resistance still exist, one researcher referred to Boko Haram as "a spent force." Many of the fighters have taken advantage of an offer of amnesty from the government, while others have joined different militant Islamic organizations. It is hoped that more of the young abducted women will be able to return to their families as they are rescued from captivity or abandoned by their captors.

Praise God that these young women have been safely reunited with their long-suffering families. As they now transition from 'life on the run' in the jungle, after enduring years of captivity, pray that each of them will experience God's restorative healing and comfort while settling into their new lives. Despite the huge adjustments involved after their traumatic ordeal, may the victims' relationships with their families likewise be mended and restored. Please also continue to pray for the remaining students who are still being held captive by the militants, as well as those who are trying to find their way home after escape or abandonment.

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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