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Photo by Emmanuel Ikwuegbu on Unsplash
Photo by Emmanuel Ikwuegbu on Unsplash
World News

'Christians are among those who are especially targeted': Calls for Nigeria to protect citizens after hundreds more abducted

by Lydia Davies

More kidnappings have taken place in Nigeria and Christian groups around the world are pleading with the Nigerian government to do more to protect civilians from abductions and free those already in captivity.  

The pleading intensified after reports of at least 600 people, including women and children, were kidnapped in Nigeria last week alone, up by more than 200 from the previous reports. 

Christians believe the Nigerian government is yet to respond adequately to the recent surge in abductions. 

Among the abducted were residents of internally displaced persons camps in Borno State. Additionally, 287 students and teachers were kidnapped from a school in Kuriga, Kaduna State, by armed herders. 

This alarming situation coincides with the approaching 10th anniversary of the abduction of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok by Boko Haram. 

Despite some releases and escapes, approximately 100 girls remain captive to this day. 

Open Doors told Christian Today that these were "not isolated incidents" as it accused the Nigerian government of "failing to discharge its duty to protect its citizens from violence and attacks".  

"Attacks and kidnappings, particularly in the north of Nigeria, have seriously worsened over the last decade. Christians are among those who are especially targeted," a spokesperson said. 

They added: "Arms proliferation, impunity and government inaction has allowed the expansion of Boko Haram and increasing violence in the north of Nigeria, where attacks by armed bandits on villages and schools are becoming endemic”. 

Henrietta Blyth, CEO of Open Doors UK and Ireland, appealed to the Nigerian president for the release of victims. 

"Boko Haram is notorious for targeting Christians, abducting and killing men and abducting, raping and forcibly marrying women and girls," she said.  

"We also urge the Nigerian government to work to get the hostages already held by Boko Haram liberated-including young Christian girls such as Leah Sharibu and the Chibok girls who are still held captive”. 

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) expressed deep concern over the resurgence of mass abductions by terrorist organisations in Nigeria, citing the deaths of over 50,000 Christians due to religious persecution in the past 15 years.  

CSW founder president Mervyn Thomas called for the swift and safe return of abducted students and increased efforts to safeguard vulnerable communities and schools. 

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