LAGOS, Nigeria (CNS) — Religious groups in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state have organized prayer sessions and other activities to support the rescue of kidnapped schoolgirls.
But Hassanah Mohammed, a resident of the state capital, Maiduguri, told Catholic News Service that groups have been avoiding nighttime vigils for fear of additional attacks.
“Chibok town and Borno state are now on the world map, and we pray that God will touch the hearts of the Boko Haram insurgents and release those innocent girls safely to their parents,” she said May 8.
She added that after about 200 villagers were killed in the state earlier in the week, groups had increased their prayers.
In an overnight attack in mid-April, armed gunmen abducted girls at Chibok Government Girls Secondary School and took them into the forest.
Girls who escaped said the men identified themselves as government soldiers who had come to rescue them after gunshots were fired nearby.
By May 8, more than 250 girls remained missing; two had died of snakebites and about two dozen were sick, reported The Associated Press, which was dealing with an intermediary. AP also reported that May 5, 11 more girls, ages 12-15, were taken from other villages in Borno.