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Nigeria's stolen children

Nigeria's stolen children

by Rosie Collyer

The abduction of over 200 school girls in Chibok in April 2014 drew international attention to the crimes of Boko Haram. But thousands of children have been kidnapped across northeastern Nigeria since the Boko Haram insurgency erupted.

Some escaped, and some were freed by Nigerian military interventions. But they often find they have no homes to return to, because Boko Haram has occupied or destroyed their villages. And they have no idea where their families have gone. Many end up in camps for the displaced.

Stephen Mamza was a priest in Borno State when the Boko Haram insurgency erupted there in 2009. His church was destroyed and he was forced to flee. He was ordained Bishop of Yola in neighbouring Adamawa State in 2011. He sheltered around 3,000 Christians and Muslims at St. Theresa's Cathedral in Yola during the height of the conflict, and spends his days trying to reunite families and helping kidnapped children in the camps recover from their trauma.

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