A thanksgiving service to celebrate the release of 10 women--including two members of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria)--who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram in June 2017 is planned this Sunday in Maiduguri, Nigeria. The service is planned by the EYN Maiduguri congregation and the Mdurvwa family.
One of the women who was released, Rifkatu Antikirya, is a sister to Yuguda Mdurvwa, director of EYN’s Disaster Relief Ministry, and a nurse who headed up accident and emergency at Maiduguri Specialist Hospital. Another was from the EYN Kano congregation. They were traveling with Nigerian policewomen when the kidnapping occurred last summer.
That kidnapping was just one of several incidents in recent weeks and months in which EYN members--among many other Nigerians--have been affected by the continuing violence of Boko Haram.
On Feb. 20, Boko Haram carried out a mass kidnapping of some 110 girls and young women from the Government Girls Science and Technical School in Dapchi, Yobe State, close to the Niger border. For many people, this recalled the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls in 2014. It is believed the girls abducted from Dapchi were mostly Muslim, and none are known to have connections with EYN.
On March 3, two health workers, Alice Adamu, also known as Alice Ngadda, and Hauwa Mohammed, were kidnapped by Boko Haram at Rann Camp, Kala Balge Local Government Area, Borno State. A report on the incident from EYN staff liaison Markus Gamache noted that some humanitarian staff were killed during the kidnapping, which happened close to the border with Cameroon.
Adamu’s guardian is church secretary of an EYN congregation in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja. She also is related to Rebecca Dali, wife of EYN’s past president Samuel Dali, who identified her in a Facebook post as a nurse working for UNICEF. She is the mother of two young children.
The EYN church at Utako Abuja is observing 40 days of prayer for the release of the two women, and the church secretary is sending out messages asking brothers and sisters in the faith to pray for Adamu and Mohammad, her Muslim colleague.
Yuguda Mdurvwa also shared in an e-mail to Church of the Brethren staff: “This last two weeks has seen a lot of attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, in Maiduguri, Kaduna, Jalingo, Numan, and Demsa in Adamawa State. We will continue to pray for Nigeria.” Jalingo and Numan are within 100 miles of the city of Yola. The EYN Disaster Ministry in December gave $2,800 to the Numan area following a Fulani attack. The Jalingo area is one of the new church districts in EYN.
Markus Gamache reported that “the church and our communities needs prayers without ceasing.... EYN and other churches in Nigeria are still undergoing different levels of threats. The southern Borno and northern Adamawa and part of Yobe States are still under threat of daily killings, kidnappings, and bombing. The other states like Benue, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Plateau, and Taraba are under Fulani attack almost every week. There will be more mass burials this week for victims of Fulani killings in Benue and Taraba States.”