Chibok Girls Married Off; No Ceasefire
“We have married them off and they are all in their husbands’ houses…The 200+ Chibok girls have all converted to Islam, which they confess is the best religion. Either their parents accept this and convert too, or they can die.”
These were the words of a man claiming to be Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, in a video released to the media on Nov. 1. There are some doubts, however, that the speaker was actually Shekau, whom the government claims to have killed in 2013.
The speaker further denied the existence of a ceasefire agreement with the government and denounced Danladi Ahmadu, the self-proclaimed representative of Boko Haram in Chad. “Who says we are dialoguing or discussing with anybody? Are you talking to yourselves? We don’t know anybody by the name of Danladi. If we meet him now, we will cut off his head,” the man in the video declared. “All we are doing is slaughtering people with machetes and shooting people with guns… War is what we want.” This comment was a strong rebuttal of an earlier message saying that the Nigerian government and Boko Haram were working out an arrangement to return the girls to their families.
Violence continued in the northeast with the militants seizing Mubi in Adamawa State on Wednesday. Mubi is Adamawa State’s second largest town and a commercial hub for the area. The militants killed dozens of people, and forced thousands to flee when they stormed the town, robbing banks, burning down the main market and seizing the palace before hoisting their black flag over the town.
A witness, Aduraman Kwacham, told BBC’s Africa Today program that the military had retreated as barracks were seized. He broke down in tears as he spoke about the conditions faced by family members left in Mubi. “There is no water, no food… I tell you, the situation is very bad in my place.”
Thousands of Christians fleeing Boko Haram attacks in southern Borno state had taken refuge in Mubi, but the town had recently become aware of imminent danger of attack. A month ago, reports of approaching militants caused thousands to flee the town.
The attack was carried out with the usual Boko Haram brutality. “The son of the district head who is a staff of judiciary was beheaded in the presence of his father,” reported Isaac, Open Doors researcher. “Over 6,000 people are reported to have trekked in different directions from Mubi. Even people who were in hospitals had to run for their lives! We are told the insurgents confiscated their cell phones and SIM cards before allowing them to leave.”
There were also reports that the insurgents were planning to publicly amputate the hands of all those caught looting the market during the attack. Although these reports are unconfirmed, they indicate the atmosphere facing those trapped in Mubi. Violent attacks have been reported in other cities and villages, as well. The situation in northeast Nigeria remains dire.
Father, there is so much to pray for regarding the daily horrors taking place in Nigeria. We pray for our sisters who have been abducted in Chibok. In the midst of their very dark circumstances, pour out Your grace and fill them with comfort and hope. May Your Holy Spirit be a particular presence with them so that they might know that they are not alone, and that many people are praying for them. We pray for children whose parents have been slain in attacks; that they will find refuge and healing, both physically and spiritually. For those who have been forced to flee their villages, we pray Your comfort over them and that You will provide food and shelter and great hope. We pray for wisdom and determination for the government to find a solution to this Boko Haram insurgency. And where Satan would use these unthinkable atrocities to destroy Your church in Nigeria, we pray that You will take the evil he has unleashed and use it for good in the lives of the suffering believers in northeastern Nigeria, and to bring glory to Your name as You grow Your church. In the name of Jesus, full of mercy and power to save, Amen.