AFRICA/NIGER – NEW JIHADIST ATTACK NEAR THE MISSION OF MAKALONDI

Agenzia Fides reported on November 19, 2018, that a new Jihadist attack occurred near the mission of Makalondi close to the border with Burkina Faso, causing numerous injuries and the death of two policemen. The target of the attack was a police checkpoint located
in the south of the city of Makalondi, 50 km from Bomoanga, where on 17
September Father Luigi Maccalli SMA was kidnapped.

Since his kidnap over two months ago nothing has been heard nor seen of Fr. Luigi. 

The news of the latest attack, which took place on the evening of 17 November,
was reported to Agenzia Fides by Father Vito Girotto SMA who, for security reasons after the kidnapping of his confrere, was forced to abandon his mission.

Currently the mission is served by a team of three priests, two from Niger and a Beninese SMA priest. According to the information gathered by Fr. Vito, the assailants took possession of the policemen’s weapons. The SMA missionary reported that nothing happened to the three priests and the Christian community they serve.

Radio France International confirmed that the attack lasted a few minutes. As soon as the alarm was given, the first reinforcements arrived. It appears the jihadists are trying to find weapons and hence their attack on the police checkpoint.

The opening of this new front in the south-west, in the village of Gourma, is of great concern for the diocese of Niamey.

Other sources are reporting that, in recent days, the Nigerian armed forces have carried out land and air operations against jihadists in the W National Park of Nigeria. Several terrorist cells are reported to have been dismantled and the militant mopping-up operations continue. 

Confreres and friends are reminded to keep Fr. Luigi in their prayers and to pray for the safety of all in the mission of Makalondi. These are particularly worrying times.