Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Thursday, 13 October 2016

21 Nigerian Schoolgirls Released by Boko Haram

Deal brokered by Swiss government and International Red Cross, spokesman says
The Associated Press

This undated image taken from video shows an alleged Boko Haram soldier standing in front of a group of girls said to be among the 276 abducted Chibok schoolgirls held since April 2014, in an unknown location. (Site Institute via AP)

Twenty-one of Nigeria's Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram more than two years ago have been freed in a swap for detained leaders of the Islamic extremist group, the government and military said Thursday.

Some 197 girls remain captive, though it is not known how many of them may have died.

The freed girls, the first to be released as a result of government action, are in the custody of the Department of State Services, Nigeria's secret intelligence agency, according to presidential spokesman Garba Shehu.

Their release was negotiated between the government and Boko Haram in talks brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government, he said. Negotiations will continue for the release of the other students, he said.

'We thank the federal government and,
like Oliver Twist, we ask for more.'
— Prof. Hauwa Biu, activist

A military officer familiar with the talks said four detained Boko Haram leaders were released Wednesday night in Banki, a town on the northeast border with Cameroon. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press on the matter. The girls were flown by helicopter to Maiduguri, the northeastern capital of Borno state and birthplace of Boko Haram, he said.

Congratulations to President Buhari, the Red Cross and the Swedish Diplomats involved. None of this could have been accomplished under Buhari's predecessor. It gives us hope that more girls may yet be saved, although, I'm quite sure, none are anywhere close to the same girls they were two years ago.

There is, unfortunately, no indication in this report whether the negotiators were dealing with Abubakar Shekeau's group or Abu Musab al-Barnawi's group. 

"We are extremely delighted and grateful," the Bring Back Our Girls movement said on Facebook. The group, which has campaigned within Nigeria and internationally for the release of the students, said it awaits the names of the released girls.

"We thank the federal government and, like Oliver Twist, we ask for more," said Prof. Hauwa Biu, a women's rights activist in Maiduguri.

Nigeria Kidnapped Girls
Young girls known as Chibok Ambassadors carry placards bearing the names of schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram, during a demonstration, in Abuja, Nigeria in 2015. (Sunday Alamba/Associated Press)

International outrage

Negotiations last year failed when Boko Haram demanded a ransom of $5.2 billion for the girls' freedom, according to a recently published authorized biography of President Muhammadu Buhari by American historian John Paden. It was not clear if any money changed hands in this swap.

The abduction of 276 schoolgirls in April 2014 and the government's failure to quickly free them has caused international outrage and brought Boko Haram, Nigeria's home-grown Islamic extremist group, to the world's attention. Dozens of the girls escaped on their own, but most remain missing.

In May, one of the girls, Amina Ali Nkeki, escaped on her own. Shortly after her release Nkeki told her family that some of the kidnapped girls died of illness and that others, like her, have been married to fighters and are pregnant or already have babies, her mother told the press.

Since then Nkeki has been in the custody of the secret service where she is receiving medical care and trauma counselling, according to the government. Buhari's government has been criticized for keeping her isolated. The Bring Back Our Girls group and Human Rights Watch have asked whether Nkeki now is a detainee of the government.