Boko Haram attacks worshippers

Boko Haram has set its sights on the Church

“The State must be more pro-active to counter Boko Haram which has set its sights on the Church” says the Archbishop of Jos

FIDES, the News Agency for the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, has carried the comments of His Grace Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama concerning the latest murderous attack by Boko Haram on Christians gathered to pray in Kano and Maiduguri in northern Nigeria.

The Archbishop of Jos, who is also the President of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria, stated: “These attacks are a continuation of the state of insecurity in which we have long expressed our concern as Bishops”. In Kano, a bomb exploded in a building of Bayero University, where Mass was being celebrated and killed at least 16 people, injuring 22 others. And in Maiduguri, a commando group of the Boko Haram sect opened fire on worshipers in prayer in the chapel of the Church of Christ, killing 5 people.

“They had hoped that the attacks ceased but instead they are becoming more deadly, killing innocent faithful, innocent students and innocent journalists, ” said Mgr. Kaigama recalling the attacks carried out on April 26 against two newspaper buildings in the federal capital Abuja and Kaduna in the north.

“Boko Haram has expanded the list of targets to hit: police stations, schools, churches, universities, newspaper editors. The Church, especially the Catholic, is a target because, in the eyes of the Boko Haram fanatics, it represents Western culture and values that they claim to fight, in particular Western education ” continues Mgr. Kaigama.

The sect also seeks to conquer a space in that part of society in northern Nigeria that struggles to accommodate inter-religious dialogue. As recalled by Mgr. Kaigama “in Kano it is not a Catholic church that was hit, but a Catholic community gathered in a university area to attend Mass. This is why in Kano Christians face severe difficulties in building their own churches and places of worship.”
Despite the massive deployment of military, the seizures of weapons and explosives and the arrest of militants, Boko Haram has intensified its attacks. “In my opinion I think the government should reconsider the strategy for combating terrorism. One must ask where will the next attack be? In an airport? In an open market or in another crowded place? I think that our security agencies should act in a more pro-active way trying to be one step ahead of terrorists,” concluded the Archbishop of Jos. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 30/4/2012).

The BBC has also reported on these deadly attacks. Read their Report here.