Boko Haram leaders have formally claimed responsibility for the mass kidnapping of 243 school girls. As reported by the parents of the abducted, Boko Haram is suspected to still be in possession of more than 230 girls, who are being sold into domestic and sexual servitude for as little as $12.00 each.
On the night of 14 April, more than 100 armed Boko Haram insurgents abducted a reported 243 students from an all-girls government-sponsored secondary school after shooting their way past the compound’s security staff. The mass kidnapping lasted approximately six hours as the kidnappers hand-selected their victims from the more than 250 students attending the secondary school.
The overwhelmingly Christian crop of abductees was then loaded onto the backs of military-grade trucks and driven deep into the Sambisa Forest located on the Nigerian-Cameroonian border. Though an estimated one to two dozen of those abducted have reportedly escaped, search parties comprised of Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) vigilantes and parents continue to search alongside the Nigerian Army for the remaining missing girls. Some reports suggest some of the girls have been carried into neighbouring Cameroon and Chad.
Nigerian President Jonathan, who has taken sweeping criticism for what some have perceived as disregard for the crisis, addressed concerns on Sunday. ‘Wherever these girls are, we’ll get them out,’ Jonathan said, adding that officials had no idea where they were.
Boko Haram, whose name means ‘Western education is a sin’, continues to pursue its goal of carving out a separate Islamic state from Nigeria’s northern regions where it can establish its ultra-conservative interpretation of Sharia law. The insurgency often targets schools, government institutions and religious minorities – mostly Christians – as part of a broader strategy to create a purely Islamic society in northern Nigeria. In 2014 alone, it’s estimated more than 2,500 innocents have been murdered by Boko Haram, many of whom are known Christians whose communities have been pillaged and churches set ablaze.
Sources: International Christian Concern, Sydney Morning Herald
- Pray these girls will be rescued and reunited with their families. Pray the Lord will protect them and strengthen them during this time of torment.
- Ask the Lord to frustrate the plans of those who are responsible, put a stop to their evil schemes and bring them to justice.
- Pray the Lord will dismantle Boko Haram entirely and put an end to the violence.