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07/13/2021 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – Kidnappers have released several hospital nurses abducted shortly after midnight on Monday, July 5 in northwestern Nigeria’s Kaduna State. The hospital, which specializes in the treatment of tuberculosis and leprosy, was attacked by unidentified criminals who shot three people and kidnapped ten, including two infants.

Under an hour later, another group attacked Bethel Baptist school near Kaduna city and abducted over 120 students. Simultaneously, yet another group attacked Living Faith Academy, which houses 500 students. Police were able to fight the attackers off after a two-hour battle.

ICC contacts on the ground were close to the incidents, including one whose son is a student at Bethel Baptist and was among the few who escaped amid the confusion and darkness. The student’s father, Reverend Joseph Hayab, is an influential member of Kaduna’s Christian community and the chairman of the Kaduna State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria. “God Almighty will arise and intervene in this unfortunate incident,” he said. “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.”

Violent incidents like these have become increasingly common in Kaduna State during the tenure of Governor Nasir El Rufai. In office since 2015, he has actively contributed to the unrest in his state, regularly making inflammatory comments designed to deepen the sectarian divide and instituting a number of punitive lockdowns on Christian communities that have lead to scores of deaths. Meanwhile, he and his family live a life of luxurious international travel to Paris, New York, and beach resorts around the world.

In the week since the abductions, the kidnappers have demanded that parents supply them and the children with food and issued ransom demands. As analysts expected, the kidnappers are demanding outrageous sums for the return of the children. The targeting of infants and the apparently coordinated attacks indicated this would be an especially difficult process to navigate.

Over 1,000 students have been kidnapped from across Nigeria this year. In nearly every case up to now, authorities have negotiated a quick release for the students. It remains to be seen how authorities will deal with this incident involving a Christian school.

The Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, whose name loosely means “Western education is forbidden,” established the pattern of kidnapping school children in Nigeria for ransom in 2014 when they abducted 276 mostly Christian girls from a school in Chibok. Recently, Kaduna state governor El Rufai informed the public that ransoms paid to these criminals were used to fund Boko Haram and their extremist agenda.

Please pray for the Lord to comfort grieving families and strengthen their faith during this difficult time. Please also pray for the safe return of all who have been kidnapped, and for their captors, that their hearts would be softened, and that they will experience the love of Christ that leads to true repentance and salvation.

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected].