Nigerian Christian teen escapes captors weeks after abduction, forced conversion to Islam

By Samuel Smith, CP Reporter – TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2020

A Nigerian Christian girl who was abducted in January and forced to convert to Islam has finally been reunited with her family in the country’s northcentral Kaduna state.

The Hausa Christians Foundation told the independent daily newspaper Vanguard that Sadiya Amos has escaped from her captors and returned to her family in the Kubau Council Area after being held hostage for more than a month.

Last month, the Anglican Church and Hausa Christian community in Kubau raised concern over Amos’ abduction and alleged forced marriage to one of her captors.

According to an earlier report from The Guardian, Amos went missing on the night of Jan. 5.

Amos’ father, Amos Chindo, was forced to go to Sharia court on Jan. 7, where he was threatened by a lawyer claiming to be an advocate for Sadiya and a Sharia court judge. Both accused Chindo of preventing his daughter from converting to Islam.

The judge and lawyer were accused of forging a birth certificate in which Sadiya’s age was raised from under 17 to 19. Additionally, the lawyer and judge refused to give Chindo access to his daughter or tell him about her whereabouts.

The trial was adjourned until Jan. 14.

According to a statement from the HCF, Amos and her parents attend the church where the Anglican Bishop of Ikara Diocese, Yusuf Ishaya Janfalan, presides.

According to Vanguard, Janfalan delegated priests to attend Amos’ court hearing on Jan. 14 and call for the Sharia court to acknowledge that both parents are Christians and not subject to Sharia law.

“[T]he judge didn’t listen to them or even give them the chance to speak and never even listen to Sadiya’s parents,” the HCF statement reads. “Instead, the Sharia judge went ahead to read his predetermined judgment and closed the case without the Sadiya in court.”

HCF said that the organization did its best to try to secure Amos’ release after the court’s decision but had no luck. At a protest in January, Janfalan and leaders from the Hausa Christians Foundation called on the government for an immediate intervention to secure Amos’ release.

“While doing our best to rescue her, we reached a point where we could not do anything due to financial constraint,” the HCF statement explains. “While praying to God for open doors to speed up her freedom, the Power of our God went ahead and completed the work all to His glory.”

Sadiya Amos told HCF that she was kept in a room for more than a month and forced to convert to Islam. She said that guards were posted outside her door so that she would not escape.

But one day, the guards fell asleep and left the door open. Amos said that allowed her to escape and return to her parents.

“The case of abducting Christian girls and their forceful conversion to Islam as well as forcing them into marriage has become a watershed issue in Northern Nigeria,” the HCF statement reads. “The Hausa Christians Foundation in less than three years has rescued 12 of these girls out of the over 30 cases that were reported to us from across Northern Nigeria, especially the Hausa Land.”

It is unclear as to who Amos’ captors are. However, kidnappings of hundreds of young girls in Nigeria have been carried out by different actors in recent years. Those actors include the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, its splinter group the Islamic State West Africa Province and radical Fulani herdsmen.

Last October, six Christian schoolgirls and two staff members were abducted from a Christian-run high school in Kaduna city by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

In 2014, over 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in the town of Chibok in Borno state. Over 112 remain missing.

In 2018, 110 schoolgirls were kidnapped from a government school in Dapchi. Although nearly all were released, Christian teen Leah Sharibu was not because she reportedly refused to deny her faith in Christ. After two years, family members and advocates are still calling for her freedom.

“The moment these girls are abducted, they are subjected to all manners of evil just to take control of their minds,” HCF warns. “Once they took hold of their minds, these girls will only do everything they are asked to do.

“While the parents fight for the release of their daughters, these abductors continue to sexually abuse these girls, hypnotized their food, drinks, clothes, where they sleep, perpetually evoke evil spirit upon them to the point that these girls completely lost their minds and never think of going back to their home.”

HCF warned that it only takes about one or two weeks for a Christian girl to be abducted and married off.

“She will be sexually abused even before the marriage to make the parents give up on her when she becomes pregnant,” HCF stresses.

Open Doors USA’s 2020 World Watch List ranks Nigeria as the 12th-worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution.  (Click to Source)

 

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Nigeria’s Silent Slaughter: More Christians Killed Than Iraq & Syria Combined

BY TONY PERKINS/FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL MARCH 12, 2020

They were on their way to a wedding — her wedding. Chatting away in the car, surrounded by her two best friends, Martha’s mind was probably on last-minute details, the ceremony, the excitement of seeing everyone again.
She and her fiancé were getting married New Year’s Eve, just a few days away, near her family home in Adamawa State. It was a seven-hour trip from Maiduguri down the dusty, Nigerian roads. A trip that, for Martha and her bridesmaids, came to a sudden and horrifying end.
They were only a couple hundred kilometers into their journey when they saw the men — fighters, armed by the Islamic State. Every Christian in the area had been warned about Boko Haram. Take extra precautions, they were told. Things were getting worse.
So when Martha was ordered to pull over and get out, she knew what it could mean. Terrified, she felt her hands being pulled behind her back. Satisfied that the women were believers, the men unsheathed their weapons. One at a time, their screams floating on the empty desert air, the girls were beheaded. An entire bridal party of innocents, left in a bloody heap by the side of the road.
Pastor Francis Arinse had known Martha from his early days at St. Augustine church in Maiduguri. She’d been one of his first parishioners, he would explain. But for now, he had the horrible responsibility of telling the world that the young bride and her closest friends would never walk down the aisle. They were dead, the latest victims of a Nigerian rampage no one in the West is talking about.
In the two months since Martha’s death, hundreds more Nigerians have been killed. Gunned down at Sunday worship or burned alive in the hundreds of houses set ablaze, the situation is getting worse. The pictures of local towns, of men hoisting small caskets above their heads in a long line, are almost commonplace now. A slow-motion war is underway in Nigeria, Bernard-Henri Lévy warns, “massive in scale and horrific in brutality.” “And the world has hardly noticed.”
The stories are grim and harrowing, as villagers talk about the machetes falling — on arms, fingers, heads, and pregnant bellies. They’ve been lit on fire, sold into sex slavery, shot, raped, and then raped again. All because they’re Christians. People are doing anything they can just to flee. It’s so bad, former Congressman Frank Wolf explained on “Washington Watch,” that every time a boat sinks in the Mediterranean, it’s usually full of Nigerians, because they’re desperate to get out.
“Boko Haram has killed more Christians in Nigeria than ISIS killed in Iraq and Syria combined. Not many people know that,” Wolf points out, “but it has. They’re committing genocide. Genocide.” Then there are the Fulani militants, he goes on, committing “crimes against humanity.” Together, they’re creating the most dangerous terrorism in the world. And we’re getting to the point where the situation could completely unravel. “We need a plan,” Frank insisted.
Part of that plan was discussed earlier this morning when the leadership of the International Committee on Nigeria, Johnnie Moore, and I met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. As we told him, one of the most critical things the United States could do is appoint a special presidential envoy to Nigeria. The government there must be held accountable for protecting their own citizens.
Frank pointed out yesterday what’s at stake if we don’t address the growing crisis. “We’ll see another Darfur — maybe even another Rwanda. We will see thousands and thousands more die. We’ll see a base for terrorism in that region. And the impact on the world will be unbearable.”
It’s time to act — which is why, after our meeting, I participated in a press conference with the International Committee on Nigeria to urge the American government to intervene. The campaign, called Nigeria’s Silent Slaughter hopes to turn the world’s eyes to the suffering and bloodshed. It is absolutely unacceptable for Christians to be murdered because of their faith in Jesus Christ.
Over the past three years, no one has been more adamant than the Trump administration that the United States stands for religious liberty around the world. In fact, as Frank Wolf reminded everyone, if it weren’t for this president and vice president, we might have seen the end of Christianity in the Middle East. “It was this administration that changed the whole dynamic… And now the time to get the right person and the right policy and get this done. The poor Christians are crying out — and we have to act.” (Click to Source)
Originally published at Family Research Council – reposted with permission.

 

 

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Pregnant woman and baby among 30 killed, burned to death by Boko Haram

By Samuel Smith, CP Reporter – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2020

Boko Haram militants are suspected to have burned and killed no less than 30 people and abducted others Sunday night as the extremist faction continues to terrorize northeast Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.

A spokesperson for Borno Gov. Babagana Umara Zulum told CNN that at least 30 people, including a pregnant woman and her baby, are now dead after suspected Boko Haram militants set sleeping travelers on fire in the Auno village of the Borno state.

The travelers were camping out in the village for the night as they missed a 5 p.m. curfew in the state capital of Maiduguri, about 10 miles away.

Sources reported to Vanguard that while most counts say that at least 30 have died, the death toll could be as high as 40. That would include the death of six militants.

According to the state government, militants burned 18 vehicles. Some of the destroyed vehicles included trucks loaded up with food to be taken to the markets the following day.

State government spokesman Ahmad Abdurrahman Bundi told AFP that militants stormed Auno village with trucks and mounted weapons. The militants killed, looted and burned.

Village resident Shehu Tanko told CNN that the bodies of the pregnant woman and her baby were among the corpses recovered.

“They burn everywhere. The fire was still on till this morning,” Tanko explained. “We are still looking for many people around here.”

A source told Vanguard that the pregnant woman was likely raped before she was burned to death and that the baby’s head was crushed.

Boko Haram is an Islamic militant insurgency responsible for killing tens of thousands and displacing millions in the last decade-plus.

The terrorist group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in 2016 but soon splintered after Islamic State leadership tried to replace Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau.

Although the Nigerian government claims to have defeated Boko Haram militarily, Boko Haram and its offshoot Islamic State West Africa Province continue to carry out attacks in Borno.

“We have to be brutal in telling the truth. I am pushed to the wall to say the truth. Since I was inaugurated as governor of Borno State, Boko Haram has attacked Auno six times,” Zulum said in a statement, according to Vanguard. “Another thing is that the military has been withdrawn from Auno town. I am not undermining the capacity of the military but we have made repeated appeals for the military to establish their unit in Auno.”

Gov. Zulum recently gave a guest lecture at the National Defence College in Abuja in which he detailed the challenges of the Boko Haram insurgency in the Borno state. Zulum alleged that the insurgency is responsible for making 59,311 orphans and 59,213 widows.

Boko Haram over the years has abducted hundreds of school girls. The group has also abducted pastors and others in attempts to raise funds through ransom payments.

Last month, Boko Haram executed Rev. Lawan Andimi, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria’s chapter in the Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State.

Andimi was kidnapped in early January and was seen in a ransom video praising God before his death.

Also in January, the Islamic State released a propaganda video purporting to show the killing of a Nigerian Christian university student by a child soldier. In December, the Islamic State faction claimed to have killed 11 Christian aid workers in Nigeria in retaliation for the killing of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In a statement Monday, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari declared that the Nigerian government is “combating frontally the dreadful activities of terrorist groups like Boko Haram and the so-called Islamic State.”

Buhari and his administration have faced international scrutiny over their inability to thwart extremist attacks by Boko Haram, ISWAP and radical Fulani herdsmen in the country’s Middle Belt.

Last December, the U.S. State Department listed Nigeria for the first time on its special watch list for countries that engage or tolerate severe religious freedom violations. Nigeria was placed on the list because of the “lack of effective government response” to increasing violence. (Click to Source)

 

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Nigeria: Death toll from Lassa fever outbreak jumps to 70

Authorities say number of suspected cases increased from more than 700 to 1,708 as Nigeria grapples with epidemic.

 

The death toll in Nigeria from an outbreak of Lassa fever has risen to 70 as confirmed cases shot up, according to authorities.

The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Nigerian agency responsible for the management of disease outbreaks, said in its week six update on Thursday that eight new deaths from Lassa fever were reported in three states.

“Four new healthcare workers were affected in Ondo, Delta and Kaduna states,” the NCDC said in the update.

It said the number of suspected cases has “increased significantly” compared with the situation in mid-January, from more than 700 to 1,708.

Confirmed cases have also shot up to 472, it said.

Lassa fever is a disease spread to humans through food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.

In 80 percent of cases, the fever is asymptomatic, but for some, the symptoms include high fever, headache, mouth ulcers, muscle aches, haemorrhaging under the skin and heart and kidney failure.

It has an incubation period of between six and 21 days and can be transmitted through contact with an infected person via bodily fluids and excretion.

Effective treatment

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the antiviral drug ribavirin appears to be an effective treatment for Lassa fever “if given early on in the course of the clinical illness”.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation with about 200 million people, has five laboratories with the capability to diagnose the disease.

A health official works in the laboratory extraction room of the Institute of Lassa Fever Research and Control in Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Irrua, Edo State, midwest Nigeria, on March 6, 2
The number of cases usually climbs in January due to weather conditions during the dry season [Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP]

 

Lassa fever belongs to the same family as the Ebola and Marburg viruses but is much less deadly.

The disease is endemic to the West African country and its name comes from the town of Lassa in northern Nigeria where it was first identified in 1969.

It infects between 100,000 and 300,000 people in the region every year with about 5,000 deaths, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Previously, cases of the disease have been reported in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo and Benin.

The number of cases usually climbs in January due to weather conditions during the dry season. (Click to Source)

 

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