Date:  March 8, 2024


Nigeria (International Christian Concern) — Terrorist groups kidnapped about 687 people in northern Nigeria this week.

On Sunday, March 3, gunmen from the Boko Haram terrorist group kidnapped at least 400 people from multiple IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps in the northern state of Borno. On Thursday, March 7, unidentified armed herders attacked a school in Kuriga, Kaduna State, kidnapping at least 287 students and teachers.

These horrific accounts come just seven days before the 10th anniversary of the Chibok schoolgirl kidnapping, which sparked the international campaign #bringbackourgirls. Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in 2014, 98 of whom are still in custody.

Established in 2002, Boko Haram is an internationally recognized Islamist terrorist group that is responsible for the deaths and kidnappings of thousands of Nigerians. With the name translated from the region’s Hausa language as “Western education is forbidden,” much of the group discourages Western ideals.

Boko Haram, as well as other militant groups in Nigeria, contribute to the continued recommendation for Nigeria to be designated as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) by the U.S. Dept. of State. This designation would require the United States to address religious persecution in Nigeria that has caused the deaths of more than 50,000 Christians over the past 15 years, with Christians dying every two hours on average.

The population of Nigeria is approximately 48.1% Christian and 50% Muslim, with the Muslims primarily populating the north and the Christians the south. Hosting 225 million people, Nigeria is one of the most populous countries in Africa and one of the most economically profitable.

In the 15 years the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCRIF) has recommended that the State Department name Nigeria as a CPC, it was only designated once, in 2020.

Several members of U.S. Congress have recently taken strides toward combatting this issue. In the first two months of 2024, the U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on International Affairs hosted two meetings on the future of religious freedom in Nigeria.

The continued attacks show the lack of efficacy of the current Nigerian policies as well as the international policies in place to protect human rights and basic safety.

HOW TO PRAY: Pray for the immediate return of all those who remain missing. Pray for strength and peace for those being held captive. Pray for hope for their families as they wait for updates.