Gunmen Kidnap 153 Baptist Church High School Students in Nigeria
28 Rescued on First Day, Many Still Missing
07/07/2021 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that in the early hours of July 5, 2021, gunmen invaded Bethel Baptist High School, Damishi, in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Nigeria, and kidnapped 153 students. A statement released by the president of the Baptist Conference, Kaduna, Reverend Ishaya A. Jangado, stated, “We received a distress call in the early hours of Monday 5th July 2021, that bandits have attacked Bethel Baptist High School, Damishi Kaduna. The situation we have found ourself is indeed pathetic, particularly for the parents of the kidnapped students and the school community.”
As of July 6, 2021, 28 of the students were recovered, while 125 are still missing. In a brief comment, the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Kaduna State Chapter, Reverend Joseph Hayab disclosed that his son attends the same school and was among those who narrowly escaped. “When I heard the news, I kind of gave up, though still kept making some contacts. Surprisingly, I got a call later that my son had surfaced.” Rev. Hayab’s son told his father that when the gunmen entered, they ordered all of the children to lie down prostrate, while they started shooting. They then commanded all of the students to move out of the hostel. When some of the students ran out, the gunmen chased after them. Rev. Hayab’s son carefully escaped through another exit while the gunmen weren’t looking. When he noticed an adult running and recognized him as one of his teachers, he ran behind him and escaped. It was this teacher who called Hayab to inform him that his son escaped and was with him.
The Baptist Conference president stated that when he heard about the attack, he immediately contacted security operatives and mobilized other stakeholders for a rescue mission. Search and rescue operations are still ongoing. Commenting further, he said, “In Kaduna, there is no Islamic school that has been attacked in this manner. A mission school was targeted and they took away our students.” He offered words of comfort to parents of the students. “Our trust is in God, and I urge all our parents to remain calm and keep faith with God for there is nothing He cannot do. God Almighty will arise and intervene in this unfortunate incident.”
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, said, “We pray for those who have been taken. We pray that they are able to return home safely and swiftly to their families. We call on President Buhari and the government of Nigeria to step in and secure the release of these children, just as they did in the case of Dapchi and Kankara. They must act swiftly to ensure that none of these children are injured or killed. Governor El-Rufai must work with the community to ensure that these kinds of attacks do not continue.”