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Parent praying - Photo: Morning Star News www.morningstarnews.org
A father prays for students at a breach in the school’s wall.
Photo: Morning Star News

Shooting wildly, armed assailants breached the walls of Bethel Baptist High School in the early morning of July 5th. More than 100, and possibly as many as 164, students at this boarding school in Maraban Rido (located on the outskirts of Kaduna State's capital), are still missing after being kidnapped by militants as part of a coordinated attack. The suspected Fulani militants overcame security guards, initially abducting almost all of the school's 180 students at gunpoint. A few of the students fortunately managed to escape.

At last report, governing officials have not received any contact from the kidnappers. Distraught parents gathered at the school awaiting news, collecting the remaining belongings of their children: discarded sandals and other personal items that had been left behind. "May God take away their tears and the suffering they will face at the hands of the kidnappers," commented a woman as she pointed to a hole in the school's perimeter where the gunmen had forcefully entered.

Around the same time, the nearby Faith Academy was also attacked. However, the academy's security team, together with soldiers in the area, managed to repel the assailants. In light of these recent raids, governing officials of Kaduna State have ordered Faith Academy, along with 12 other schools considered vulnerable to attacks, to shut down immediately.

These incidents are reminiscent of the mass kidnapping of Chibok students which was carried out in 2014 by members of the Boko Haram terrorist group. Many of these Chibok students are still missing. According to recent news reports, nearly 1,000 people have been abducted from Nigerian schools since December 2020 alone, with more than 150 of them still missing. In protest against the incessant kidnappings, hundreds of women, including parents of the Bethel school students, set up a blockade in the afternoon of the recent July 5th abductions on the highway in Maraban Rido. However, the military broke up the demonstration within hours.

Prayerfully remember these abducted students and their distraught families during this time of heartbreak and uncertainty. Pray for the protection of all the children remaining in captivity and for the needed comfort of those left behind. May God provide guidance and wisdom to Nigeria's military and police forces as they seek the safe return of the missing students, who are all so very precious in His sight, while also working mightily in the hearts of the perpetrators of these hateful crimes.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC works with in-country partners to encourage and strengthen persecuted Christians through a variety of methods. Christian widows receive skills training and trauma counselling as a way to provide an income for their families and heal from the trauma they’ve faced in losing their husbands. Children who have lost parents and relatives due to attacks are provided with a safe place to grow and be nurtured. Medical fees are paid for Christians who have suffered injuries due to attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani. Discipleship and vocational training are given to Muslim Background Believers to help them start their new lives spiritually and practically. The Glenn Penner Scholarship Award is used to help equip persecuted Christians completing their master's degrees and have a heart to share the Gospel with the lost in their community. Food aid is also provided to persecuted Christians living in IDP camps throughout Nigeria as an opportunity to encourage them and help them rebuild their lives.

Project Funds: Women’s Ministry, Bibles, VOM Medical, Families of Martyrs, Equipping the Saints, Relief and Development

Country Information

Population
203,452,505 (July 2018 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Hausa (27.4), Igbo (14.1), Yoruba (13.9), Fulani (6.3), Tiv (2.2), Ibibio (2.2), Izaw/Izon (2), Kanuri/Beriberi (1.7), Igala (1), Other (28.9)

Religion (%)
Islam (51.8), Christianity (46.9), Traditionalist (0.9), Unspecified (0.5)

Leader
President Muhammadu Buhari

Government type
Federal presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law (in 12 northern states), and traditional law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Nigeria

May God minister great comfort and healing to all who have been injured or bereaved as a result of the militants' brutal attacks. In addition, pray for the remaining abducted Chibok schoolgirls, that they will be assured of the Lord's abiding presence as they await release from captivity. Continue to uphold President Buhari and other members of the Nigerian government as they make further attempts to rescue the remaining girls and provide protection for vulnerable citizens. As they persevere in their endeavours to overcome terrorism, may they be granted wisdom, courage, strength and help from on high.

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