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Kidnapped school girls from Chibok, Nigeria
Girls abducted from a school in Chibok, Nigeria, during 2014.
Photo: Screenshot

After more than eight years in captivity, two of the girls kidnapped from a school in Chibok, Nigeria, have managed to gain their freedom. Hauwa Joseph and Mary Douda were among the more than 270 girls who were abducted by Boko Haram terrorists on April 14th, 2014 (see this report).

On June 21st, the Nigerian military presented both of the recently rescued young women, along with the babies born to them during captivity. Hauwa was found among other civilians near Barna on June 12th. Mary turned herself over to troops in Ngoshe, near the border with Cameroon, on June 14th. In both cases, the girls had been forced to marry their captors while in captivity.

Hauwa was only nine years old when she was kidnapped in 2014. "I was married off not long ago and had this child," she told reporters. However, her husband was recently killed in a military raid, leaving her to fend for herself and their 14-month-old child. "We were abandoned; no one cared to look after us. We were not being fed," she recounted.

Mary was 18 years old when she was captured. Throughout her captivity, she had been married at different times to Boko Haram fighters. "They would starve and beat you if you refused to pray (Islamic prayers)," she recalled while reflecting on her life in the rebel encampment. When she decided to flee, she convinced her husband that she was going to visit another Chibok girl near Ngoshe. With the help of an elderly man living outside the village, Mary travelled to Ngoshe where she surrendered to Nigeria's military troops.

Speaking of the schoolgirls who are still missing, Mary stated: "All the remaining Chibok girls have been married with children. I left more than 20 of them in Sambisa." She was able to proclaim, "I'm so happy I'm back!" It is believed that Mary's mention of Sambisa refers to the Gazuwa Camp in the Sambisa forest, the main headquarters for a faction of the Boko Haram terrorists.

Praise God for the safe deliverance of Mary, Hauwa and their children. Pray for these young women and their families as they look forward to the years ahead, asking the Lord to provide emotional support and healing as they integrate back into their communities. Additionally, please pray for the safe rescue of the many other girls still in captivity. May Nigeria's governing leaders take the necessary actions to ensure their safety and restoration as well, so they can be joyfully reunited with their families.

Current Ministry Projects

Through a vast variety of projects, VOMC works with in-country partners to encourage and strengthen Nigerian Christians who have experienced extreme forms of persecution. Christian widows receive trauma counselling to help them heal from the aftermath of tragically losing their husbands due to persecution-related attacks. These widows are also provided skills training so they can have a practical means of income to support their families. Children who have lost their parents and other relatives during incidents of persecution are provided a safe place in which to grow and be nurtured. Medical fees are paid for Christians who have suffered serious injuries perpetrated by militants affiliated with Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Fulani groups. Discipleship and vocational training are being offered to Muslim-background believers to help them start their new lives spiritually and practically.

The ministry also gives persecuted Christians who are completing their master's degrees – and have a desire to share the Gospel in their communities – the opportunity to benefit as recipients of the Glenn Penner Scholarship Award. Another one of VOMC’s projects in Nigeria involves the distribution of food aid to persecuted Christians residing within Internal Displacement Persons' (IDP) camps. Through this distribution effort, displaced believers who have been forced to flee their homes and communities because of their faith not only receive daily sustenance but also the encouragement that’s needed to rebuild their lives.

Project Funds: Women’s Ministry, Bibles (Distribution), Medical, Families of Martyrs, Equipping the Saints, Relief & Development

Country Information

Population
219,463,862 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Hausa (30), Yoruba (15.5), Igbo (15.2), Fulani (6), Tiv (2.4), Kanuri/Beriberi (2.4), Ibibio (1.8), Izaw/Izon (1.8), Other (24.7)

Religion (%)
Islam (53.5), Christianity (45.9), Other (0.6)

Leader
President Muhammadu Buhari (2015)

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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Nigeria News

  • Dozens Kidnapped from Two Church Services
    A church service in Nigeria
    A Nigerian church service.
    Photo: Flickr / SIM USA (cc)

    Suspected Fulani herdsmen stormed a church in Suleja, Niger State, in the early morning of September 17th. Several of the church members who had gathered for an all-night prayer vigil were kidnapped, along with the pastor.