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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.