Chibok Victim-“Kidnappers threatened to shoot.”
”We were still awake” in the Chibok school dormitory late on April 14, said 17-year-old Joyce, who spoke to World Watch Monitor, when armed men in several vehicles arrived unexpectedly.
Joyce, one of the Nigerian girls who escaped from her Boko Haram kidnappers last month, says the men they thought were soldiers threatened to shoot anyone who resisted. “[At first} we thought they were military,” she said. “They ordered us to gather in one place, before setting fire to our buildings. Even our own personal belongings have not been spared.”
Joyce related that the men forced her and around 300 of her terrified classmates into the vehicles, threatening to shoot any who opposed them. The caravan of vehicles sped off into the Sambisa forest.
”They gave us drinks and we were asked to prepare food to eat,” Joyce said. At about 2 p.m. the next day, “as I pretended to go to the toilet, I managed to escape, along with two other classmates.”
The three girls reached a camp of Fulani, an ethnic group of largely nomadic herders, at about 8 p.m. The girls spent the night at the camp before finally reaching their homes the following day, exhausted.
In total, about 40 of the abducted girls have managed to escape thus far; more than 270 remain unaccounted for. One of them is the 20-year-old daughter of a man who lives in a village near Chibok.
”We live in anxiety day and night,” said the man, whose name is being withheld by World Watch Monitor to protect his safety. “We are idle, while the rainy season (for farming) has started. We mourn and pray day and night for the return of our daughters.”
Chibok is a predominantly Christian enclave in Muslim-majority Borno state, in Nigeria’s northeastern corner. Christian communities in the northeast have been repeatedly attacked in recent months by Boko Haram, a heavily armed insurgent group fighting to impose its version of Islamic law across the country.
The families of the victims have become aware of the worldwide outpouring of sympathy ”We believe they have realized that they are not alone in this difficult circumstances as many around the world support them,” said Rev. Samuel Dali, president of Ekklisiyar Yan Uwa a Nigeria, known as Church of the Brethren, or EYN Church. Most of the affected families are members of EYN Church. Dali and his delegation have been visiting families across Chibok, without a security escort.
On Tuesday, a delegation of women visited Chibok to extend their sympathy to the grieving mothers of the kidnapped girls. ”We have come to express our compassion,” Dali told World Watch Monitor. “We prayed with them and we urged them to turn to God, as He is the only one who can appease their hearts.”
Some of the world’s top Islamic scholars have denounced Boko Haram’s spree of violence. The Islamic Fiqh Academy, based in Saudi Arabia and part of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said the kidnapping “contradicts all humanitarian principles and moral values and violates the provisions of the Quran and Sunnah.”
Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, now a UN education envoy, announced a “safe schools initiative” aimed at providing security for around 500 schools in northern Nigeria. Meanwhile, the girls who escaped have been called back to school to compete their exams.
Father, we pour out our hearts on behalf of these girls and their families as they live out a horror we cannot begin to comprehend. We implore You to bring rescue soon, and to protect them from forced marriages. Protect their faith, Father; do not let them fall into hopeless despair. In our own sense of helplessness, we pause to contemplate Your mighty works throughout the ages, how You led the Israelites across the Red Sea on dry land, and how in the desert wilderness, You provided manna and quail to eat and water to drink. We pray for such an outpouring of Your sustaining power upon these girls. Fill them to overflowing with Your peace. And as You rescue them, may the world know that You have done it. In the name of Jesus our help in times of trouble, Amen.
Source: World Watch Monitor