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Aid to the Church in Need
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Christian charity to help victims of Boko Haram terror

by Tola Mbakwe

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN)  has announced it will help Nigerian widows and orphans who lost loved ones in violence perpetrated by Islamist militants Boko Haram.

Boko Haram has repeatedly said it wants to get rid of Christians. The terrorist organisation's name means 'Western education is forbidden'.

The aid includes food parcels and schooling for 1,000 orphans, and counselling for 500 widows, many of whom saw their husbands killed by the jihadi fighters.

According to the charity, those who are worst affected by the violence are in the Diocese of Maiduguri, in north-east Nigeria.

Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri told ACN that the money will go to the large families who "have been struggling through life with great traumatic experiences".

With most families having more than six children, the bishop has established St Judith's Widow Association to ensure the support fulfils each family's needs. Each widow will be receiving training with business skills, such as farming and tailoring, and adult education programmes.

ACN said Boko Haram has destroyed 25 schools in the diocese since 2009.

Bishop Oliver stressed the importance of ACN's grant for orphans' schooling.

He said: "It is mostly the children living in the eastern part of the diocese who will benefit from this, as this part is the most affected and the poorest."


On an ACN fact-finding and project-assessment trip to north-east Nigeria in March, Church sources reported that extremists had killed more than 20,000 people across the region.

Among those ACN met on the trip was a 40 year old widow named Agnes who is raising nine children after her husband was shot dead by the extremists for refusing to convert to Islam.

She explained how her husband, a builder, was working outside a house when Boko Haram surrounded all the people and shot them dead.

Agnes said the terrorists refused to allow family members to recover the bodies and that no burial was possible.

She said: "[Boko Haram] just left the bodies to rot there."

Thanking the charity for the ongoing support, Bishop Dome said: "I wish, on behalf of all the Christians suffering in this part of the world, to thank you at Aid to the Church in Need for recognising and acknowledging our sufferings, our difficulties, our troubles, our pains and our hardships, and for standing by us in this challenging moment."

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