Year after girls’ abduction, Nigerians’ hearts still ache

Apr 27, 2015 by

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The Church of the Brethren in Nigeria continues to mourn the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls — and members’ loss of life and property — a year after the kidnapping.

Rebecca Dali, right, of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, visits with two of the Chibok parents. Dali traveled to Chibok April 8-10 to meet with parents of girls who were abducted by Boko Haram a year ago. — Center for Compassionate Empowerment and Peace Initiative

Rebecca Dali, right, of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, visits with two of the Chibok parents. Dali traveled to Chibok April 8-10 to meet with parents of girls who were abducted by Boko Haram a year ago. — Center for Compassionate Empowerment and Peace Initiative

On April 14, 2014, the Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram took 276 girls from their secondary boarding school, built by Brethren mission workers in the 1940s in the remote village of Chibok.

Many of the girls are part of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (Church of the Breth­ren in Nigeria, or EYN).

While 57 girls managed to escape, 219 remain abducted more than a year later — their fate and whereabouts still unknown despite recent progress by the Nigerian military to regain areas held by Boko Haram.

Hundreds of EYN members have been killed, dozens of churches have been burned, and more than 1,000 homes of members have been destroyed.

Rebecca Dali, founder of the Center for Compassionate Empowerment and Peace Initiative, reported that many parents of the abducted girls have been killed, along with 400 other people in the area.

The wife of the EYN president, Dali made the risky trip to Chibok April 8-10 to visit parents of the abducted girls and to deliver CCEPI relief materials and letters of support from U.S. Breth­ren.

“In Chibok, the children were sad, despairing and sorrowful, still mourning their abducted sisters,” Dali said. “Some of the children are not healthy. Some were injured during the attack. One of the parents, Thlur, told me that one of her 8-year-old son’s limbs was cut.”

A mother told Dali she saw no reason to live without her daughter. One set of parents could not speak due to their emotion.

Drop in water in the sea

The emotional trauma is matched by physical needs. Dali said most people are not getting enough nutrition or water.

“Most of their health clinics were set ablaze, and there are no medical doctors, good medicines or medical services,” she said. “The Nigerian government is giving them some relief material, but it is not enough to feed their families.

“They depend on humanitarian assistance, but no NGO is aiding them — only CCEPI, which is not constant and is like a drop of water in a problem like a sea.”

Many have fled the community in search of livelihood because their farms were destroyed.

In addition to supporting CCEPI, the U.S. Church of the Brethren has prepared worship resources to remember Chibok’s girls and webinars.

In Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, demonstrators sang and waved placards calling for the girls’ release on the April 14 anniversary of the abduction.

On April 14, Religion News Service reported about 50 of the girls were seen three weeks ago, though none had been rescued.

Last month’s election of Muhammadu Buhari has inspired a new hope over the children’s rescue. But in a statement on April 14, Buhari said he did not know whether the girls could be rescued.

“I say to every parent, family member and friends of the children that my government will do everything within its powers to bring them home,” he said.


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  • Brian Meyer

    Prayers to bring back each of these girls!

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