As President Obama prepares to send an advisory team to help Nigeria find more than 200 Christian and Muslim girls abducted by Islamic terrorists, Christians in the U.S can help victims and their families, said Adeniyi Ojutiku, a U.S.-based expert on Nigerian relations.
Meanwhile, Islamic terrorists continue to attack mainly Christian communities, killing 300 and injuring many in the latest attack Monday (May 5) in Borno state, burning and destroying churches and homes, and stealing livestock, food and other supplies, Vanguard News reported Tuesday (May 6).
Ojutiku, a Southern Baptist and grassroots organizer in Raleigh, N.C., encourages Christians to pray for and send financial aid to victims and their families in his homeland, and to lobby Congress to hold Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration accountable for what some describe as insufficient outreach to help and protect victims.
The Obama administration announced Tuesday that Jonathan has accepted the U.S.’s offer to send military and law enforcement personnel skilled in intelligence, investigations, hostage negotiating, information sharing and victim assistance, as well as officials with expertise in other areas. But the U.S. is not currently considering deploying troops or other military resources to Nigeria, Obama said.
“In the short term our goal is obviously is to help the international community, and the Nigerian government, as a team to do everything we can to recover these young ladies,” Obama told NBC News. “But we’re also going to have to deal with the broader problem of organizations like this that … can cause such havoc in people’s day-to-day lives,” Obama said of Boko Haram.
Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 girls in the middle of the night three weeks ago from the Government Girls State School and no one has been able to find the victims, 90 to 95 percent of whom are believed to be Christian. Boko Haram leaders have threatened to sell the girls as wives to Muslim men, and reports support that the girls may be used as sex slaves, Ojutiku said.
The number of victims varies, but 276 girls were kidnapped and 53 escaped during the abduction or after the soldiers set up camp, leaving 223 missing, perhaps some of them killed, according to information Ojutiku has secured. Girls who reportedly escaped may have actually been released, Ojutiku has learned, because the majority of them are Muslim.
“The families of these abducted girls are so distraught, to the point where they cannot engage in their normal economic activities … while they are still huddled down, looking for information and for the release of their children,” Ojutiku told Baptist Press.
“That area [Chibok] is 90 percent Christians. Therefore, it’s not just an abduction of girls; it’s an abduction of Christian girls,” he said. “We want to be able to also have opportunity to minister, not just materially, but also to the spiritual trauma and the spiritual needs of the people. And also when this is all over, by God’s grace it will end on a good note, we’ll be able to help the people to move on in their lives.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press