Armed Radicals Kidnap 140 Christian Kids From a Baptist High School in Nigeria as the ACLJ Urges the U.N. To Take Action To Save Christians
Most of us have the luxury of feeling that our children and grandchildren are safe going to school each day. But parents in Nigeria – particularly Christian families – find themselves locked in a constant state of terror as school children are being murdered or kidnapped by Islamic radicals. In fact, the day after we Americans celebrated our Independence, armed terrorists stripped away the freedom of 140 Nigerian students from a Christian school. As reported by CBS NEWS : Gunmen have kidnapped 140 students from a boarding school in northwest Nigeria , a school official said on Monday, the latest in a wave of mass abductions targeting schoolchildren and students. Heavily-armed criminal gangs often attack villages to loot, steal cattle and abduct people for ransom in northwest and central Nigeria, but since the start of the year they have increasingly targeted schools and colleges . The attackers scaled a fence to break into the Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna state in the early hours of Monday, taking away most of the 165 pupils boarding there overnight. 140 defenseless children abducted at gunpoint from a Christian school. Let that chilling statement sink in, especially if you have children in school yourself. While CBS News, a part of the mainstream media, simply called the kidnappers “gunmen” and “attackers,” we know in many of these instances who is perpetrating the barbaric acts. When Christian teen Leah Sharibu and 109 other schoolgirls were violently abducted from their school in broad daylight, it was by the Islamic militia Boko Haram. The fact is Islamic radicals are targeting Christians in Nigeria and across Africa for slavery and even slaughter just because of their faith. Christian pastors have been horrifically killed . Innocent children have been abducted and forced into slavery in Nigeria. Just last year, two teen girls were murdered by Islamic jihadists in the same area as the Baptist school where these 140 students were just kidnapped. According to one recent report , roughly 1,000 students have been kidnapped in Nigeria since December . But despite repeated occurrences of horrific, targeted violence and bloodshed, Nigeria’s government has done little to nothing to stop the persecution and protect its own people. As one prominent NGO noted in response to the latest kidnapping, “We risk the loss of a generation if these attacks on schools and attacks on education continue. . . . It is so shameful that on one hand, bandits and Boko Haram are attacking children and their right to education, on the other hand, the government's only response is to shutdown schools.” Unlike Nigeria’s government, we are taking action and urging governments worldwide – including the U.S. government – to do the same. When he was Secretary of State, ACLJ Senior Counsel for Global Affairs Mike Pompeo placed Nigeria on the State Department’s “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPC) watchlist “for engaging in or tolerating ‘systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.’” As the former Secretary has explained : [T]he Nigerian government was tolerating the systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of the religious freedom of its people, allowing them to suffer at the hands of radical Islamic terror. This designation signaled to the Nigerian government that swift action on their part was needed to put an end to this persecution, or there would be further consequences in the form of sanctions and increased diplomatic pressure. Sec. Pompeo credited the work of the ACLJ in contributing to his making that official designation. As he has stated : The work that the ACLJ did was very informative for our team at the State Department when we began to evaluate whether or not to designate Nigeria as a CPC. The ACLJ contributed to the data set that underlaid the decision I made. Since then, Sec. Pompeo has joined the ACLJ to defend Christians from violent persecution, not just in Nigeria but around the globe. For years now, the ACLJ has been urging the United Nations to take action to save Nigeria’s persecuted Christians. As we’ve stated in previous submissions : “Nigeria is experiencing a humanitarian crisis and a rapidly deteriorating situation for Christians who are increasingly the targets of religiously motivated violence.” As we reported , we just recently filed our 18th submission at the U.N. to defend our suffering Christian brothers and sisters, demanding international intervention. And we continue to demand action at the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) for Leah Sharibu, who has now been the captive of Boko Haram for over three years. Leah recently turned 18 and has reportedly been forced to give birth to two babies while in the clutches of these monsters. This innocent Christian girl’s childhood has been completely destroyed by soulless jihadists who have sworn their loyalty to ISIS. And she has suffered all of this simply because she refused to renounce her faith in Christ. The entire world needs to stand up for Leah, her innocent babies, and the hundreds of Christians and other students who are being violently abducted across Nigeria. As believers, we have a Biblical mandate to save persecuted Christians. Isaiah 42:7 commands believers “ to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison, and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. ” Our next filing deadline at the U.N. is looming, and our critical work to defend dying Christians must continue until stories like these cease. We must fight until the countless captive Christians like Leah are free, and all believers in Nigeria and beyond can worship and pray without fear of violence, enslavement, or death.