Inland Mission

Pray for the
Kanembu people

The Kanembu are an ethnic group of Chad, generally considered the modern descendants of the Kanem-Borno Empire. They live in the desert just northeast of Lake Chad.

Who are the Kanembu?

The Kanembu are an ethnic group of Chad, generally considered the modern descendants of the Kanem-Borno Empire. In the 1200s the Empire’s influence covered eastern Nigeria and Niger and the northern half of Chad and Libya. They traded with Egypt and sponsored Islamic schools as far away as Alexandria. Its camel caravans reached the Muslim holy cities in the Arabian Peninsula. Today the Kanembu sultans and their traditional rules are still more influential in Chad than government authorities. 

However, their empire rapidly declined during the 1500s under the strength of other more aggressive and powerful rulers. Now estimated to be around 655,000 people, they live in the desert region of northwestern Chad, just northeast of Lake Chad. They speak Kanembu, a Kanuri language that has various dialects. It is not yet a written language, and those who are literate read and write Arabic, which is taught in the Islamic schools.

What do they believe?

Arabs migrating from the North and East spread into Chad with Islam during the tenth century. Today, Islam is strong among the Kanembu. They are generally orthodox, faithfully following Islamic practices, but also add in traditional African religious practices and spiritualism.

What is being done to reach them?

Throughout Chad, and even among the Kanembu, there are churches populated with Chadians from the south of the country, from people groups who have already responded to the gospel. Please join us in praying for these churches to begin to reach out to their unreached neighbours. AIM are also seeking to place a TIMO (Training in Ministry Outreach) team among them and are currently seeking team leaders for that role. Please pray for those whom God is calling to serve in this way.

Prayer Resources


If you are organising a prayer meeting or just looking for material to help you pray with more insight for some of Africa’s unreached people, why not download a printable Prayer sheet on the Kanembu of Chad.


Latest prayer updates…

Below are some of the latest prayer updates on the Kanembu of Chad.

Give thanks:

That the Kanembu are open to us planting a team among them. It has been almost three years now since we first made contact with the local authorities in the town where we intend to place a team. Since that time we have yet to bring any workers. Pray  that the local people stay open to the idea of us coming and working among them. Pray for open doors to stay open!

Please pray:

For the Chadian church to understand their role in mission and be passionate about reaching their unreached neighbours.

That we would have the opportunity to send a TIMO team to reach the Kanembu with the gospel. Pray particularly that God would be raising up team leaders who sense a real call to this challenging ministry.

For team members. Pray that those considering whether God might be calling them into mission would begin to get excited about the possibility of sharing God’s word with the Kanembu.

That God would be preparing the hearts and minds of the Kanembu to receive the gospel. Pray that the Lord would work through dreams and visions. Pray that there would be a hunger for the truth.

Related articles:

  • How do you help with mental health? - Ann works in northern Chad, seeking to share the gospel and to demonstrate God’s love and power through her medical work. She shares more here.
  • Are you called to the Kanembu? - In 1895 Peter Cameron Scott, the founder of AIM, felt God’s call to reach those as yet unreached in the ‘inlands’ of Africa. His vision was of a chain of Christ-centred churches stretching from the coast of Kenya to Lake Chad. Today, there are still unreached people groups living in Africa’s 'inlands'.
  • So, what does teaching on the mission field look like? - Hannah Coggins teaches at Wellspring Academy in Chad, providing education for the children of missionaries serving in Africa. In her latest prayer letter, she shares how her role is not only allowing missionary parents to stay on the field, but is a mission field in itself, too...
  • How are we reaching the unreached in Chad? - Chad boasts 140 people groups, 73 of which are still considered unreached. Here we explain how we're seeking to reach them.