Two Christian women abducted in Nigeria as Sharia conflict continues

Friday, April 21, 2000

GUSAU, Nigeria, 21 April 2000 (Newsroom) – Two Christian women were abducted by Muslim youths enforcing Sharia (Islamic law) in the capital of Zamfara state in northern Nigeria, according to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). The women managed to escape several hours later and reported their kidnapping to police.

The Rev. Peter Dembo, chairman of the state branch of CAN, told journalists on Wednesday that two female members of his association were abducted and some female students were molested by motorcycle riders recently.

Dembo said Mabel Naaka and Christianah John were kidnapped when they boarded a bus that was supposed to drop them at a hotel. Instead they were driven to the outskirts of Gusau and handed over to some masked men who locked them up in a warehouse made of sheets of aluminum. "The Lord helped them to open one of the sheets and they escaped and burst into the road at 2 a.m.," he said. "With the help of mobile policemen they were able to get to the central police station to report the incident."

The state commissioner for religious affairs, Alhaji Ibrahim Wakala, claimed that the women were prostitutes and accused CAN of making wild allegations. The abductors have not been arrested, nor have police filed any charges against the women.

Dembo also said that several female students of a polytechnic school were assaulted by motorcyclists acting as enforcers of Islamic law. "The Christian ladies were brutalized by motorcyclists who abused the dignity of the ladies by slapping them on the breast in the name of supporting Sharia," he said.

The CAN chairman condemned the new attempt at implementing Sharia penal law in the state and called on the federal government to intervene to avoid a breakdown of law and order.

Sharia was first adopted in September last year in Zamfara. Many other northern states also adopted the controversial law, but an agreement was recently reached to suspend the law following a clash between Muslims and Christians that claimed as many as 400 lives in Kaduna two months ago.

States like Zamfara have remained adamant about their intent to implement the law. Islamic law prescribes punishments like amputation, public flogging, and beheading for certain crimes. The right hand of a convicted thief was amputated in accordance with Sharia recently.

Nigeria’s secular constitution permits Sharia in domestic affairs such as marriage, inheritance, and adoption.

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Used with permission.