The Christian enclave of Chibok in Borno State, northern Nigeria, has been thrown into chaos and mourning over the abduction of girls from a secondary school. “Almost every house has a child in this school … Cries of parents could be heard all over the town as parents prayed for God’s intervention in their tragic circumstances,” report OD workers from Nigeria.
Gunmen suspected to be members of an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria sped into Chibok town in Borno state around 10 pm on Monday, April 14, in seven Hilux Toyota vans. While some of the attackers set government and other buildings ablaze, others went to the senior secondary school where they overpowered the security guards before forcing the terrified students into several vehicles. The schoolgirls, between the ages of 16 and 20, belong to different churches in the area.
Although State Governor Alhaji Kashim Shettima initially declared that only 77 girls were still missing and 52 had escaped, the head teachers at the school Asabe Kwambura said the figure of missing girls is much higher than previously calculated. They said parents reported 230 girls missing, with only 40 having escaped since the abduction. Though all schools in the state had been closed due to security issues, it seems these students had been recalled to sit for their examinations. When asked in a BBC Hausa Service interview why he allowed the school to be open when the security situation in the state was becoming more challenging, Governor Shettima replied that he did not expect an attack there because Chibok is a Christian. He expressed his grieved over the events and promised to travel there to see what could be done to recover the children without harm. The federal government has challenged Borno security agents to do everything possible to rescue the missing girls. Governor Shettima has since offered a reward of fifty million Naira (about $50,000) for information leading to the rescue of the girls. Reverend Shuaibu Byal , Zonal Chairman of the northeastern chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has urged the Federal Government and security agents to intensify efforts to rescue the remaining abducted secondary school girls. “I am not sure of what our daughters are passing through. Please help us to pray and seek the face of the Lord on this situation and that the good Lord will reunite us with our beloved children,” Elder Emma in Chibok said in a conversation with Open Doors following the abduction.
Father, we implore You on behalf of these young women to restore the quickly to their families. Protect them and encourage them with a clear awareness of Your presence with them. Strengthen their faith as they abide in You, as they turn to You for solace and peace. As they seek ways to escape, give them wisdom and opportunity. Soften the hearts of their captors as they see the strength and peace of these young women in the midst of this fearful situation. We even boldly ask that some might turn from their violent ways to repentance and faith in Christ. Grant an uncommon peace to the parents of these girls, calming their gripping fear and assuring them of Your presence with their daughters. In the name of Jesus whose presence in us we reflect in this dark world. Amen.