Rescued Children Can’t Remember Names, Parents

An aid worker in Nigeria told BBC News on Tuesday that 80 children (not the still missing Chibok school girls) rescued from a Boko Haram camp in Cameroon in November cannot remember their own names or origins.

Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, director of the U.S.-based National Democratic Institute, said the children between the ages of five and 18 had been rescued when security forces acting on a tip raided what was thought to have been a Koranic school. 

They are now in an orphanage where there are attempts to rehabilitate the children. Fomunyah said the children had spent so long with their captors, being indoctrinated in jihadist ideology, that they had lost track of who they were.

"They've lost touch with their parents," he said. "They've lost touch with people in their villages, they're not able to articulate to help trace their relationships and they can't even tell you what their names are." They do not speak English, French or any local languages.

The report confirms concerns expressed by Open Doors workers in Nigeria over the spiritual well-being of the Chibok school girls kidnapped last April. Apart from the physical hardships, they are also facing indoctrination. According to Open Doors, of the 275 students present during the Chibok attack, 23 avoided being taken, 16 jumped off trucks and four managed to escape after arrival. Apart from the four, no others have managed to escape.

A local worker said: "I am presently in contact with the chairman of the Chibok Parent's Committee. The girls are still missing. There is no information of escapes. They are still in the hands of the abductors. People are coming up with false stories, but the truth is the girls are still missing.

The number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in northern Nigeria has hit the 1.5 million mark due to the ongoing insurgency of Boko Haram, the United Nations agency for refugees (UNHCR) reports.

Nigeria is ranked No. 10 on the Open Doors 2015 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians. Last year a total of 2,484 Christians were martyred in Nigeria, the highest total of any country in the world.

Open Doors has been active in the troubled region of northern Nigeria for almost two decades. The ministry includes: Bible distribution, training and caring for new believers, ministry skills training, Sunday school training, development of curriculum, assistance to Christian schools, emergency support in crisis situation, holistic community development, trauma counseling support and implementation of socio-economic projects for new believers and widows of Christian leaders who have been killed. Open Doors has also come along side the Chibok families with letters of encouragement, prayer and trauma counselling.

Compiled by Jerry Dykstra.

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