T.B. Joshua Declares Divine Rescue Operation Underway for Abducted SchoolGirls #BringBackOurGirls
Nigerian Pastor T.B. Joshua proclaimed to his congregation on Sunday 27th April 2014 that the abducted schoolgirls in Borno State were on the verge of being released by ‘God’, adding that almost half had already escaped their kidnappers clutches.
Amid mounting public fury and an international outcry over the fate of 230 kidnapped Nigerian teenage girls – now missing for nearly two weeks – the controversial cleric declared, “They have to be released. That is the voice of God!”
He proceeded to describe a revelation he claimed God had shown him. “I saw a vision where some of these girls have escaped and they are trying to find their way from the forest to the town.”
He added that the remaining children under custody would also be released soon. “God has spoken – these children must be released,” Joshua authoritatively declared. “We can’t wait to see them.”
In a message broadcast live via Joshua’s widely viewed station Emmanuel TV and subsequently posted on his official Facebook page followed by close to 1,000,000, he counseled the girl’s parents to know that people felt their pain. “It is not your battle alone but the battle of all people of God all over the world. They are also our children.”
Joshua, however, warned that security forces involved in rescue efforts should be careful not to be drawn into unnecessary confrontation. “God has promised all of them will come out free, without harm and hurt. However, if there is unnecessary confrontation, it may affect them,” the pastor, whose recent YouTube clip showing a prophecy of the ill-fated MH370 plane went viral and garnered international media attention, cautioned.
“Let us be prayerful and at the same time be tactical and strategic, so they will not harm our dear schoolgirls,” he advised. “Their captors are in a place where they cannot move forward or backwards. Confrontation is dangerous.”
Joshua then led the 30,000 strong congregation at The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) in prayer. “Pray for the protection of these girls. Remember our security forces too in prayer. Ask God to give them more wisdom and a clean and clear strategy, so that their approach will not be attack for attack. No matter what the militants do, even if they attack, they should not attack back in order not to harm our girls.”
The Nigerian cleric, who is touted to be one of Africa’s 50 most influential people and was the recent focus of an Associated Press interview, concluded by advising his supporters to observe Tuesday as a day of prayer. “With God, all things are possible.”
His Facebook post was signed off with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls which has come to characterize the voice of concern from social media users as to seemingly lackluster response from the Nigerian government to the crisis.
On Monday 14th April 2014, insurgents suspected of belonging to the Boko Haram sect abducted the girls, who were students at Chibok Government Girls’ Secondary School, from their dormitories, loading them onto trucks, before setting the boarding school ablaze.
The girls, who are all aged between 16 and 18, are thought to be held captive in a notorious region called the Sambisa Forest, a known jungle hideout of Boko Haram in Borno State. The search and rescue operation for the remaining captive teenagers has yielded no positive results so far, and to mounting public frustration, has also been shrouded in secrecy.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he is “appalled” by the abductions. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he too was in contact with the Nigerian authorities and had offered assistance. “The world must wake up to the escalating tragedy now engulfing Nigeria,” he said.
Wole Soyinka and other human rights activists have expressed the widely-held fear that the girls could be held for years to be used as sex slaves. There is also speculation in Borno State that they are being used as human shields to deter military action against Boko Haram camps.
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