The Washington Post

Nigerian Christians begin three-day fast after schoolgirls kidnapped

Christians began a three-day prayer and fasting period after Islamist Boko Haram militants kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria and desperate parents joined the search in a remote forest.

The girls were abducted last week while at school in the Chibok area of Borno State. Initial reports said about 200 were kidnapped, but government officials lowered the figure to 130. On Monday (April 21), school officials said 234 were abducted and 40 girls had managed to escape.

“We know no religion (that) prescribes abduction or infliction of pain as a way of devotion,” said the Rev. Titus Pona, an official with the Christian Association of Nigeria. “We are calling on them to sheathe their arms and pursue their case in dialogue with the government.”

Boko Haram translates to “Western education is forbidden,” in the Hausa language. For five years, the insurgents have unleashed violence in northern Nigeria, but the girls’ abduction is viewed as the most terrifying so far.

More than 1,500 people have been killed in the insurgency so far this year, compared with an estimated 3,600 between 2010 and 2013, according to The Associated Press.

“This violence continues because the militants have support from powerful people in Nigerian society,” said the Rev. John Bakeni, a Roman Catholic priest in Borno.

Nigeria’s top Muslim leader, the sultan of Sokoto, Al-Haji Sa’ad Abubakar III, condemned the abduction.

“We sympathize with the victims and their teachers and families,” he said in a statement. “We call on the authorities to put all the needed efforts to free these innocent girls and get them continue with their studies.”

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.