North Africa (MNN) — New intelligence from the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) says Boko Haram is increasing child recruitment.
Boko Haram operates across Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon. The radical Muslim terrorist group often uses children for military shields, suicide bombings, sexual slavery, and other horrific purposes.
The MNJTF is a regional military alliance defending against Boko Haram insurgents. Colonel Timothy Antiga, a spokesman for the MNJTF, told VOA News,“Boko Haram terrorists themselves further confirmed the atrocious acts when they posted pictures of children dressed in military fatigues and holding assault rifles in a video released during a celebration of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.”
Younger children don’t fully comprehend what they are doing, but some of the kids manipulated by Boko Haram are in their early teens.
When these young teens strap on explosive vests, they may believe they are avenging the death of a family member who was killed by security services. Some radicals tell teens that a suicide mission will grant them immediate entrance into Heaven – an appealing idea if their current life is filled with pain and difficulty.
Denise Godwin with International Media Ministries (IMM) says Boko Haram notoriously uses media for recruitment: “There were several studies that were done on how terrorism groups recruited young people and manipulated their intentions and changed their goals through basically a marketing campaign.”
But while Boko Haram uses media to communicate lies and incite fear, IMM is using media to point people in North Africa to Jesus.
Currently, IMM is finishing The Heritage Project, a docudrama about the early Church in North Africa. The Heritage Project features eight stories of North African Christians from the first five centuries after Jesus’s life. They even plan on translating the films into different languages to reach more people.
Godwin says, “We’ve had inquiries this week from two different parts of Africa saying, ‘We’re starting some new media outreach. Do you have anything available in this language or anything that’s already made even in English?’
“What an incredible opportunity we have as believers to be out there sharing on social media, sharing on satellite, and having influence that the Holy Spirit can use to rescue these same people in obscure places by hearing about God instead of some kind of manipulation through different terrorist groups.”
As adults and teens in North Africa go online to search for hope, they can find videos with IMM in their heart language to learn about the life-giving love of Jesus.
“People need to know that there is more to life than this moment. There is more to life than people who will use evil to harm others, whether that’s terrorism or some other kind of harm. We know that God offers hope that is beyond this world — and media is a crucial part of communicating that in hard-to-reach places.”
You can be a part of this critical Gospel work in North Africa. First, link arms with IMM financially and help them produce more Christian films.
“It’s amazing how far one person’s impact can go when God is involved,” Godwin says. “Really and truly, $1 or $2 can impact a life in Africa or in some other hardened part of the world.”
Then commit to praying for IMM’s projects. Ask the Lord to protect IMM staff and translators from spiritual attack. Pray for the people in North Africa watching these Gospel films to begin relationships with Jesus.
Header photo of children in Niger courtesy of Josh Morgan via Flickr: https://rb.gy/l9zamr