Islamists under the auspices of a paramilitary force last week destroyed six churches to protest a police rescue of two teenage Christian girls kidnapped by Muslims in this Bauchi state town.
Police recovered the two Christian girls, Mary Chikwodi Okoye, 15, and Uche Edward, 14, on May 12 after Muslims in Ningi kidnapped them three weeks ago in an attempt to expand Islam by marrying them to Muslim men. Police took the two girls, who had been under foster care, to safety in southeastern Nigeria where their biological parents live.
The kidnappers had taken the girls to Wudil town in Kano state. Following the rescue of the girls, Muslims under the auspices of the Hisbah Command, a paramilitary arm of Kano state’s Sharia Commission, responsible for enforcing Islamic law, went on a rampage on Tuesday , attacking Christians and setting fire to the churches.
The destroyed churches were the Deeper Life Bible Church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, All Souls Anglican Church, Church of Christ in Nigeria, Redeemed Christian Church of God, and the Redeemed Peoples Mission.
Joseph Abdu, pastor of Deeper Life Bible Church, told Compass that damages to his church property in the Muslim rampage of May 13 amounted to about 13 million naira – and that his congregation had shrunk to 40 people from the 130 who attended before the attack.
Abdu said the Christian foster parents of the two rescued girls, Kanayo Chukwu Osakwe and Robinson Ajolokwu Ozuagbunna, noticed the teenagers were missing three weeks ago and reported it to police and to Ningi’s Emirate Council.
“The Christian community in Ningi, having reported the matter to the police, organized a search team to search for the missing girls,” Abdu said. “Word eventually got to the search team that the girls were being held in the town of Wudil in Kano state by a Muslim leader in that town.”
The search team of Christians along with two policemen went to Wudil, only to be told that the Hisbah Command had returned the girls to Ningi to the Muslim leader of the town, the Emir of Ningi, Alhaji Muhammadu Yunusa Danyaya.
“The team returned to Ningi and confirmed that the girls were in the palace of the Muslim leader, but that they would not be released to their parents until the Emir, who was out of town, returned,” Abdu told Compass.
Kidnapping of teenage Christian girls by Muslims, the pastor said, has become a recurring practice in Ningi. Muslims have kidnapped at least 13 Christian girls in the town, Christian sources said.
“These girls are usually kidnapped, forcefully converted to Islam, and then married out to other Muslim men against the will of both the girls and their parents,” Abdu said.
Further reading – Rescue Of Girls Ignites Islamic Rampage
See other articles – Girl, 17, Killed In Iraq For Loving A British Solider
Saudi Arabia Women Denied Basic Human Rights
Ex-Muslim On The Run For Converting To Christianity
Turkish Wives Shot By Husbands – Part Of Culture That Denigrate Them