In the middle of the night, armed men stormed the schoolgrounds and kidnapped over 300 young girls.
Causing massive chaos and confusion, some of the men were dressed as security officials and quickly ushered the girls away to a forest.
But why would anyone kidnap 317 girls?
Nigerian extremists learned they could make quite the profit by kidnapping children and demanding a ransom.
They’ve had success doing it with other children and had reaped huge financial rewards.
But Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has had enough, and had a bold message for the bandits.
“This administration will not succumb to blackmail by bandits who target innocent school students in the expectations of huge ransom payments,” he said in a statement.
“Our primary objective is to get the hostages safe, alive and unharmed.”
Sadly, this is easier said than done, as these men clearly have no regard for human life.
If the government comes in and tries to take the girls back without paying, it’s likely the bandits will hide behind the girls and use them as human shields.
Besides the rampant kidnapping of children, Christians in Nigeria are also facing violent persecution by extremist groups.
Just last year, the United States added Nigeria to the US government’s official list of the world’s worst countries involving religious persecution.
In addition, Open Doors has Nigeria listed on their top 10 most dangerous places to be a Christian in the entire world.
While Christians make up a significant portion of the population in Nigeria (46.3 %), Islam is also a dominant religion.
According to Open Doors, Islamic extremist groups are known to kill the men and boys and abduct women and children. They then force the women and children into camps or commit sexually violent acts on them – or even force them to marry.
It can be easy to stay comfortable in our suburban homes in the states, but we must not forget our brothers and sisters suffering around the world.
We must continue to pray for Nigeria, and pray for the Lord to intervene and protect those who are kidnapped.
Let us also pray for strong leadership, that government officials will find ways to keep their communities safe and stop giving into the demands of terrorists.
One can’t even begin to imagine the trauma these girls experienced as they were abruptly woken up by violent gunmen and ripped from their beds.
May God watch over these precious young girls and reveal Himself to them even in the darkest of circumstances.
Finally, let’s pray for the truth of Jesus to spread through Nigeria and continue to turn hearts towards Him.
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