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Report: Nigeria: Muslims kidnap, convert Christian children

March 15, 2007

From Compass Direct News

“Sometimes Muslims force our young boys and girls into Islam,” said Kevin Aje, Roman Catholic Bishop of Sokoto. “These are some of the challenges facing Christians here in Sokoto.”

The Rev. Reuben Yaro, chairman of the Sokoto district of the Evangelical Church of West Africa, has received reports of child abduction. In one case, Muslims forcefully took away a son and a daughter from a family in his church because the mother was a convert from Islam, he said.

“She gave her life to Christ, eventually got married to a Christian man and the marriage was blessed with the two kids,” Yaro said. But intense persecution followed, he said, with Muslims abducting the children and placing them in the custody of a Muslim cleric.

“The two children have been forced into Islam and are receiving Islamic education,” he said.

The Islamists also seized the mother of the two children – her fate is unknown – and forced the father to leave Sokoto in order to save his life, Yaro said.

Yaro said he has reported another case of kidnapping and forced conversion to the Christian Association of Nigeria, Sokoto state chapter, which is investigating it.

Pastor Tayo Atiniku, Secretary of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Sokoto state chapter, also corroborated claims of abductions of teenage Christian boys and girls in Sokoto. He cited two examples.

“Grace, a girl, 17 years old, was three years ago abducted by the Muslims here,” Atiniku said. “Her parents are members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God here in Sokoto, and her whereabouts are still unknown.”

Another Christian girl, daughter of a Christian police officer in Talata Mafara town, also was recently abducted, forced into Islam and married off to a Muslim man without the consent of her parents, he said.

“It took the father the use of a gun for him to rescue her from these Muslims,” Atiniku added.

Christian leaders are worried that the kidnapping trend is on the increase, creating tensions between Muslims and Christians.

The Nigerian government, they concur, knows of the abductions but has done nothing to protect Christian children from religious predators.

Full report here.

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