Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a global campaigner for religious freedom, has called for continued prayers for Nigeria after the release of four students and their teacher who were kidnapped in August.
The gunmen also killed one man and burned down a local church during the raid in the northwestern state of Kaduna. On Saturday, the victims were freed.
“We welcome the efforts that led to their release as we were among the organizations calling for action in their case.” said CSW’s Kiri Kankhwende.
“We must continue to pray for Christians and other vulnerable communities in Nigeria. Pray the children of all communities whose lives have been devastated by violence, and for the safety of Christian leaders, who are increasingly being targeted for abduction, and for wisdom and strategy as they lead their congregations at this difficult time,” she told Crux.
Following are excerpts of her interview.
Crux: How do you react to the release of the school kids and their teacher?
Kankhwende: We welcome the efforts that led to their release as we were among the organizations calling for action in their case. We wish them a swift and full recovery from their ordeal.
Please, walk us through the circumstances of the kidnapping.
The children and the teacher Christiana Madugu were kidnapped from the Prince Academy secondary school in the Damba-Kasaya Community in Chikun Local Government Area (LGA), Kaduna State, on August 24.
Local sources report that large numbers of suspected Fulani militants arrived in the community on motorcycles at around 7:45 in the morning. The attackers also broke into the Aminchi Baptist Church, which they set ablaze after destroying musical instruments and the public address system, before abducting other villagers. One person, Benjamin Auta, was killed during the incident. Mr. Auta leaves behind a wife and baby.
The four children and the teacher remained in captivity, even after some money was paid for their ransom. However, days after CSW’s offices in Nigeria and the UK had publicized their continuing captivity and called for action to ensure their release, news came through on the evening of October 11 that they have finally been released.
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