Lawmakers Seek to End Nigeria’s Mass Kidnappings, Church Stronger than Ever Under Persecution

The mass abduction of Nigerian schoolchildren began in 2014 when Islamist terror group Boko Haram abducted 276 mostly Christian girls from a school in Chibok. (Image courtesy Open Doors USA)

Nigeria’s government is considering a bill that would criminalize ransom payments for the return of abducted schoolchildren. On paper, the government condemns the practice. However, authorities regularly exchange cash for kids, making abduction a lucrative business.

On July 5, armed men attacked Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna state and kidnapped more than 100 students. Since December, it’s reportedly the 10th mass kidnapping, and more than 80 Baptist students remain in captivity. Officials suspended all schooling statewide for another three weeks due to insecurity.

Attackers have kidnapped more than 1,000 students so far this year. President/CEO of TransWorld Radio Lauren Libby says it’s all part of a broader battle for control of Nigeria.

“Power is the issue; who gets power? It’s not the government necessarily; it’s the extremists who are fighting each other,” Libby says.

“I deeply respect our brothers and sisters who live in that part of the world. They are true martyrs.”

Combatting terror with hope

Boko Haram has been wreaking havoc in northern Nigeria for more than a decade. See our coverage here. Nonetheless, “the Church in Nigeria is probably as strong as it’s ever been,” Libby says.

“When the Church is under persecution, that’s when they get very strong.”

The Islamic State and Fulani herdsmen also endanger Christian communities. Last week, Fulani herdsmen killed a Christian pastor they kidnapped earlier in the month.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth

CALL TO ACTION

  • Pray Nigerian Christians will find hope and strength in the Lord.
  • Pray extremists will encounter Christ through TWR broadcasts.

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