Rallies and prayer vigils worldwide are marking 100 days since more than 200 schoolgirls from northeastern Nigeria were abducted by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, with most of the girls still missing.
A rally is planned for Thursday at the Embassy of Nigeria in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Institute on Religion & Democracy, Jubilee Campaign and The Working Group on Nigeria.
"The intentions of Boko Haram to forcibly Islamize Nigeria through horrific violence are a very serious threat both to U.S. security and to the citizens of Nigeria," said IRD Religious Liberty Program Director Faith J. H. McDonnell in a statement released Wednesday. more >>
A teen feared taken in by a human trafficking ring has been found at a mall in Happy Valley, Oregon. Anji Dean, 17, was located at a mall by a Good Samaritan who tried to help Anji and notified officials, who quickly came and brought Anji home.
"It is clear that the local and national news coverage as well as the widespread sharing of this family's story via social media such as Facebook and Twitter was integral in leading us to her safe return," Sgt. Kevin Allais told the press. "This is an active investigation that includes the crime of human trafficking. We will be continuing our investigation."
Police believe that she was the victim of a human trafficking ring. A woman identified as Jennifer told KGW that Anji introduced herself using her real name but then asked to be called "Daisy." She reportedly told Jennifer that people were looking for her and she was being forced to do things she did not want. Jennifer tried to help her, but Anji disappeared before that could happen. more >>
Joran van der Sloot, the man suspected in the death of American student Natalee Holloway, has officially married while in a Peruvian prison, his lawyer confirmed. Van der Sloot is serving a 28-year sentence and may face extradition to the United States, where he is wanted for questioning and extortion.
Van der Sloot exchanged vows with a Peruvian local named Leidy Figueroa on Friday morning, CNN reported. The couple met while he was in prison, serving time for killing Stephany Flores and maintained a relationship in- and outside the prison walls. The two even managed to conceive a child and Figueroa is due in September.
"They became friends and spent a lot of time together in his cell," van der Sloot's lawyer, Maximo Altez, said. "Unlike the United States, here in Peru, loved ones or relatives can see inmates inside their jails." more >>
The Rev. Kristopher Keating, executive director at World Horizons USA, a Christian non-profit organization working in more than 30 countries, said the recent abduction of 300 girls from a school in Nigeria and resulting international uproar could be the end of Boko Haram in the country. Keating is in Nigeria this week to pray and stand in solidarity with those affected by the kidnapping and other acts of terrorism involving young children.
"People are hungry to know that their suffering here is not going unnoticed, that reports of this particular instance of large scale abduction are, for seemingly the first time in this country, causing people to take to demonstration and public outcry against Boko Haram," Keating told The Christian Post on Monday evening. "This could be a catalyzing event that breaks Boko Haram in Nigeria."
Some of the Nigerian girls who managed to escape after armed men from the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped them last month shared their stories, while the governor of the state where the incident took place says more than 200 girls still captive have been sighted. more >>
Some of the approximately 200 school girls that remain missing as the result of a kidnapping by a militant group that took place in Nigeria's northeastern town of Chibok more than two weeks ago have been transferred to neighboring Cameroon and Chad, according to several news sources. Also, they are being forced to marry Islamic extremists, a civil society group said Wednesday.
While reports have indicated that some of the 234 girls initially kidnapped by Boko Haram on April 14 escaped, villagers near the Nigeria-Cameroon border say they have seen girls on board buses heading to Cameroon, according to World Watch Monitor. BBC and other news agencies say a "bridegroom" of a girl was spotted. A bride price of $12.50 has been quoted. A local source in Cameroon told World Watch Monitor he confirms similar reports.
Halite Aliyu of the Borno-Yobe People's Forum told The Associated Press that parents say the girls are being sold to Boko Haram militants for 2,000 naira ($12). more >>
It's been two months since the body of 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo was found in the river of New York, and now his older brother, Danny, has written a letter to the City of New York, thanking people for coming together to try and find the autistic teen.
"When it matters most, this city comes together in larger numbers than any other community," Danny wrote. "This tendency for New Yorkers to come together also held true during the city-wide search for my younger brother, Avonte Oquendo. Let this be a reminder that at the end of the day, as tough as New Yorkers are, we can come together as one to achieve common goals that are in the best interest of our children, our loved ones, and our city."
Avonte left his school in Long Island City on Oct. 4, leading to a city-wide and state-wide search for the autistic teen who was barely able to communicate with others. Subway drivers made announcements reminding riders to keep an eye out for the teen, along with a description of what he was last wearing. Entire communities came together to pray and lead searches for Avonte. more >>