Boko Haram terrorists abducted 17 girls in the Chibok area of Borno state on Thursday, January 20th.
The ISIS affiliated group made a statement on Friday claiming responsibility for the attack, adding that they killed ‘many Christians’, set fire to two churches, and burned down two homes.
Eyewitness and local leader Hassan Chibok detailed the attack during an interview with the Associated Press. “The militants targeted a church and Christians when they stormed Pemi on Thursday,” he said. “They were shooting sporadically after they rounded the community. Some could not have access to escape, so they abducted 17 girls.”
A Nigerian army spokesperson, Onyema Nwachukwu, told AP that the insurgents were “desperate” to grow their influence.
“Having been depleted by our troops, the imbroglio in their ranks and the massive surrendering of Boko Haram, the terrorists, in a desperate move, are embarking on a recruitment drive to shore up their strength with child soldiers, who they could easily indoctrinate, manipulate and cheaply manage financially,” Nwachukwu said.
Christian communities within Chibok have been faced with ongoing persecution since 2014, when almost 300 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram.
The Islamic terrorist group has killed tens of thousands of Christians in Nigeria and displaced millions in an attempt to discard western influence and impose strict Islamic Sharia law. They target those who do not share their radical interpretation of Islam, often attacking villages and forcefully converting Christians, other religious minorities, and the many Muslims who they feel do not appropriately adhere to the teachings of Muhammed. While the Nigerian military repeatedly insists that the group has been defeated, attacks are ongoing.
Please pray for the end of the Boko Haram insurgency and for the Lord to soften the hearts of militants, who all too often are children forced to partake in heinous acts of violence. Please also pray for those who have been victims of terrorism, for the Lord to heal them and strengthen the church amidst persecution.