Friday, March 16, 2007

Nigera: children are kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam

There have been a number of cases where Christian children are kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam in Nigera:

Beginning in November of last year, 13-year-old Victor Udo Usen, a member of the Christ Apostolic Church in this northern Nigeria city, went missing.

On February 20, news that young Victor was spotted in a Muslim neighbor’s house jolted his family. A young Christian girl had raced to the Usens’ home in the Mabera area of Sokoto city with the news.

Victor’s mother, Esther Udo Usen, told Compass that she ran to the house where her son had been seen. She met him, however, even as he was making frantic efforts to escape from the house where he has been held incommunicado for six months.

“I quickly held his hands and dragged him along with me towards our house,” she said. “But within a twinkle of an eye, I heard shouts of ‘Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar [God is great]!’ I was shocked as I saw a large number of Muslims rushing towards us.”

The mob surrounded them and snatched her son away from her, she told Compass with tears in her eyes. Before she could send for her husband, who was not home at the time, members of the mob told her that her son was now a Muslim and that she and her husband were no longer his parents.


“The police told us that they cannot do anything at the moment until the Sultan of Sokoto, the leader of Muslims in Nigeria, returns from his trip,” he said. “They have held this boy for six months without our consent. They have forced him into Islam. How can they do this to a 13-year-old child?”


The Rev. Reuben Yaro, chairman of the Sokoto district of the Evangelical Church of West Africa, has received reports of child abduction. In one case, Muslims forcefully took away a son and a daughter from a family in his church because the mother was a convert from Islam, he said.

“She gave her life to Christ, eventually got married to a Christian man and the marriage was blessed with the two kids,” Yaro said. But intense persecution followed, he said, with Muslims abducting the children and placing them in the custody of a Muslim cleric.

“The two children have been forced into Islam and are receiving Islamic education,” he said.

The Islamists also seized the mother of the two children – her fate is unknown – and forced the father to leave Sokoto in order to save his life, Yaro said.


“Grace, a girl, 17 years old, was three years ago abducted by the Muslims here,” Atiniku said. “Her parents are members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God here in Sokoto, and her whereabouts are still unknown.”

Another Christian girl, daughter of a Christian police officer in Talata Mafara town, also was recently abducted, forced into Islam and married off to a Muslim man without the consent of her parents, he said.

“It took the father the use of a gun for him to rescue her from these Muslims,” Atiniku added.
Please join me in praying for these families as they try to get back their children. Pray that the authorities will help them and will bring these kidnappers to justice. Pray for the faith of the children who are kidnapped, pray that the Lord will strengthen them and help them share the love of Christ with their kidnappers. Also, pray for the kidnappers that they will see that what they are doing is wrong.