Breaking: 82 Chibok Girls Reportedly Released by Boko Haram in Nigeria
According to the BBC, Islamist militants of an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria just released 82 of the 276 Chibok girls they abducted in April 2014.
You might recall the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, representing an international campaign to free these girls. These girls were taken, at night, from their school in Borno state, forced to convert to Islam and reports say many were pressured to marry Boko Haram fighters.
And in addition to the kidnappings of the Chibok girls, hundreds of churches have been burned in Nigeria, and thousands of people have lost their lives in the brutal violence from Boko Haram.
Here’s what we know
According to the World Watch Monitor, the Nigerian government arranged the girls’ release in exchange for captured Boko Haram militants.
“After lengthy negotiations, our security agencies have taken back these girls, in exchange for some Boko Haram suspects held by the authorities,” said the statement, issued by Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president for media and publicity.
— ICRC Africa (@ICRC_Africa) May 7, 2017
The freed girls are now under the protection of the military in the capital of Abuja. They will undergo medical checks, and soon reunite with their families. We’ll continue to share updates from the field as more information is available.
If confirmed, we celebrate this release as an answer to prayer and a testimony of God’s incredible faithfulness.
Please continue to pray and ask God to help these girls as they transition back to life with their families and cope with the unspeakable trauma they’ve experienced.
In addition, pray for the girls who remain in captivity—ask God to give them great courage and hope in the midst of their suffering. And ask God to empower and encourage the many believers in Nigeria who risk their lives to follow Jesus in such a dangerous region.
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Open Doors is on the front lines and provides on-the-ground access to our brothers and sisters in Christ who face severe persecution in this region. Stand with them.