“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1).
President Joel S. Billi of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has confirmed news reports of the release of 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls who were abducted by Boko Haram in April 2014. Media are reporting that the girls were released to the Nigerian government by Boko Haram on Saturday, in exchange for five Boko Haram suspects.
“Yes,it is true that 82 more Chibok girls have been released,” said Billi in an e-mail to Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren. “I will keep you informed about every detail in due course,” he added. In a follow up e-mail, he confirmed media reports that the freed girls have been taken to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.
Nigeria Crisis Response staff Roxane Hill reported that “we don’t know when and if the girls will be allowed to return to Chibok.” (See “Nigeria Chibok girls: Parents learning if daughters among those freed,” www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-39846326 .)
Hill shared a list of the names of the 82 released girls, which was taken from an announcement by the office of the president of Nigeria and was sent to her by a leading EYN member who is active in efforts for education in Nigeria. However, the names have not yet been confirmed by EYN leadership. (See http://alphaplusmag.com/see-names-of-82-rescued-chibok-girls .)
Concerns remain for the hundreds of other children and adults who have been abducted by Boko Haram over recent years, and who continue as captives.
In response to queries about how to offer financial support to the released girls and their families, the Nigeria Crisis Fund will receive donations for that purpose. Brethren Disaster Ministries will work with EYN to oversee the use of the donations.
“We will work with EYN to provide resources and support to the girls,” said Roy Winter, associate executive director of Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries associate.
Donations may be made to the Nigeria Crisis Fund, with a note that the gift is made to support the Chibok schoolgirls, and mailed to the Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.
For more about the Nigeria Crisis Response go to www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis .
Contributors to this Newsline Special include Joel S. Billi, Roxane Hill, Roy Winter, Jay Wittmeyer, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org . Newsline appears every week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source.