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Christian Solidarity International Newsletter

92 girls still captive, after a decade in Nigeria


In 2014, Boko Haram jihadists seized 276 girls from their school dormitory in the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok. The sensational story soon made headlines around the world and went viral on social media with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. But despite a high-profile international campaign to win the Chibok girls’ release, ten years on 92 girls are still missing. Their parents’ agony continues. 


Chibok is a semi-urban community of about 30,000 inhabitants situated 80 miles south of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State. Set in scrubland and bounded by low hills and flat plains, Chibok is of historic importance to the Kibaku ethnic group, said to be 90 percent Christian. 


The absence of their daughters has had a devastating effect on the community, says Yakubu Nkeki, the chairman of an association that represents parents of the abducted Chibok girls. Nkeki even says that dozens of parents in their group have died from the anguish and economic hardship they suffered after the kidnapping.  


“At the last count, 44 members of our association have died,” Nkeki said. “They died from trauma and frustration. There are parents with two daughters that were kidnapped. They couldn’t bear it and lapsed into severe depression and died.” 


“The abduction of our daughters is a horrible crime that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy,” he told CSI. “For the past ten years it has been one nightmare after the other for us parents.” 


The chairman’s daughter was among a group of Chibok girls rescued in 2020. He is reluctant to talk about her for her own security. But he told CSI that she is no longer in Borno State and is studying at a higher education institution. Nkeki’s niece was also abducted, and came free in 2017. 


A phone call, after 10 years of silence 

Other parents have suffered strokes brought on by the stress, Nkeki told CSI. They include a man whose daughter contacted him out of the blue earlier this year. 


“The so-called husband of the girl called him from their hiding place somewhere in the Mandara mountains and informed him that his daughter had given birth,” the chairman of the parents’ association said. The fighter then allowed the man to speak to his daughter. 


“It was the first time he had heard from her,” Nkeki said. “She told him that she had given birth once before but that she lost that baby.” 


The girl said that her “husband” had agreed to allow her to visit her parents on condition that she returned to him. But the next day the militant called to say he had changed his mind as his wife might be rescued by the military. 


According to Nkeki, the girl’s father collapsed and fell into a long coma. When he came out of it, he had lost the power of speech and the ability to walk. 


“He’s the fourth in that condition now,” he said. 


We pray for the release of the remaining 92 girls.


 

India’s Christian community expresses relief over election outcome


India’s Christian minority and human rights defenders are expressing relief following the results of the national election announced on June 4.  The results showed that the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had failed to secure enough seats to form a government independently.  


“The God to whom Christians of India prayed has answered their prayer in the form of a reduced mandate for Modi’s party,” A.C. Michael, from the New Delhi-based United Christian Forum (UCF) which monitors attacks on Christians, told CSI. “It doesn’t have even a simple majority in the Lok Sabha [lower house].”  


Persecution of Christians 

UCF reports that the persecution of Christians in India has escalated dramatically over the past five years during the height of the Modi administration.  


In 2021, there were at least 486 reported incidents of violence targeting Christians, marking it as the most violent year on record for the community. This alarming trend persisted into 2022, with close to 600 attacks documented. By 2023, the number of these incidents had increased further, significantly surpassing 600. 


In addition to the attacks, the authorities arrested over 350 Christians in 2023, falsely accusing them of attempting to convert Hindus to Christianity. 


We pray for the end to the violence in India


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