Six years after kidnapping of Nigerian girls, attacks persist in Christian area

Nearly six years after Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from a high school in northeastern Nigeria, the Chibok area in Borno state is under threat of “annihilation” from the rebel group and the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), area leaders said.

While 112 of the kidnapped girls remain in captivity, Boko Haram abducted another 22 people in the predominantly Christian Chibok area in December, according to a statement from the Kibaku Area Development Association.

“Our homes, farms, barns, and places of worship are destroyed.” – Dauda Iliya

“The Kibaku Area Development Association (KADA) wishes to cry out and put it on the record that we are being targeted for attacks and annihilation, whether at home or wherever we are,” Dauda Iliya, head of the association, said in the statement issued on February 3 from Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

“Our people and homelands are in danger. Our homes, farms, barns, and places of worship are destroyed. We are unable to exercise our religious freedoms as we prefer. Our very existence is under grave threat.”

Iliya said 11 parents of the girls kidnapped in 2014 have been killed in subsequent attacks. Eight other parents have died from post-traumatic disorders such as heart conditions related to the abduction of their daughters.

“Of 20 Chibok girls’ parents – our kinsmen and women – who are now deceased, 11 were killed during the Boko Haram attacks, eight died of heart conditions as a result of trauma,” he said. “Those alive [are] subsisting with various degrees of heart conditions and trauma along with their resultant effects.”

Among the 22 people kidnapped in December, five were abducted in the nearby Kwarangilum community in a Boko Haram attack on Christmas Eve. The rebels burned down houses and carted away live cattle, sheep, goats and chickens, according to Iliya.

“Five days later on the 29th of December in Mandaragrau, 17 Chibok indigenes [indigenous people] were kidnapped,” Iliya said.

“We also do not notice much effort by the government to permanently end the scourge of Boko Haram terrorism, and restore peace in our homelands in particular, and the northeast in general; nor the return of our 112 daughters held in captivity for close to six years.”

The area has been under constant attack by Boko Haram, which seeks to impose sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria, for 10 years, he said.

Boko Haram terrorists on February 18 attacked two predominantly Christian communities in Chibok County, Kwarangilum and Forfor villages, residents said.

“The terrorists [simultaneously] attacked the communities around 6pm, shooting indiscriminately and burning down houses,” Maina Kapi told Morning Star News by text message. “Please, your prayer is needed because today Boko Haram entered Kwarangilum area of Chibok.”

Habakkuk Aboki, another area resident, said Islamic extremists also attacked another part of Chibok County in January.

“In January 2020, two Christians were killed in Payasatan-Bilaburdar village, also here in Chibok,” he said by text message.

Confirmation of the killings and names of the victims could not be obtained from the area, which is subject to frequent communications blackouts.

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution. Nigeria ranked second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.

*Morning Star News. Republished with permission.

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