Of the 200 or more girls kidnapped April 14 from a boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria, at least 165 of them are Christian, according to a list of names and a statement released Sunday, May 4, by a former chairman of an affiliate of the Christian Association of Nigeria. Neither government nor school authorities verified the accuracy of the list.
The statement, issued by evangelist Matthew Owojaiye, said Chibok, in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno, is 90 percent Christian, indicating the mass abduction was a religiously motivated crime, according to Lagos-based Thisday Newspapers. Boko Haram, a militant sect that has waged a five-year violent campaign to impose strict Islamic law across Nigeria, has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. Widely scattered news reports indicate many of the girls have been spirited into neighbouring Cameroon and Chad, and have been forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men.
Owojaiye is the immediate past president of the Northern States Christian and Elders Forum, which is a CAN affiliate.