According to the Vatican News Agency – Agenzia Fides – Four churches were burned in an attack probably committed by members of the jihadist group Boko Haram in Borno State, one of the three northern states of Nigeria where a state of emergency has been imposed.
According to the Archbishop of Jos, Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama, a group of armed men with improvised explosive devices and petrol bombs attacked the Hwa’a, Kunde, Gathahure and Gjigga communities on Gwoza Hills, burning the 4 churches, raiding and looting cattle and grain reserves belonging to the population.
“Unfortunately I do not have precise information and do not know what communities the Christian churches destroyed belong to,” Archbishop Kaigama told FIDES. The Archbishop is also the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria. “All communications have been cut off with the areas affected by military operations and it is impossible to get in touch with the Bishop of Maiduguri,” he explained.
Despite this incident, the Archbishop said that “the operation of the Nigerian army and the imposition of the State of emergency has made the population feel better and safer.“
It seems certain that Boko Haram is coordinating with jihadist groups expelled from Mali and are now operating in Niger, to the north of Nigeria. The Archbishop believes that “Boko Haram is a regional issue and should be resolved with a regional approach. We are paying the price of terrible negligence on behalf of our intelligence and our police forces who did not deal with the phenomenon in time. Now we need to bring together the resources of Nigeria, Niger and Mali to address the threat of jihadist groups. I think, however, that eventually they will be defeated.” (Agenzia Fides 17/06/2013)