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2014-01-29

AFRICA/NIGERIA - Boko Haram: "military response alone does not solve anything", says Cardinal Onaiyekan

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "The government has spent billions to purchase all kinds of gadgets. No matter the amount of money spent it cannot solve the problem of security", said His Eminence Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, at a press conference with media in the aftermath of the new attacks carried out by the Boko Haram sect in northern Nigeria (see Fides 28/01/2014).
The Cardinal stressed the importance of social, political, economic and psychological aspects in order to understand the Boko Haram phenomenon. "We need to understand how a young man of 27-28 years of age, who has got a degree in chemistry or whatever other course, has ended up living in the bush; something has happened to his head and mind".
According to Cardinal Onaiyekan one must also not underestimate the religious dimension of Boko Haram: "Sometimes people say that Boko Haram has nothing to do with religion (...) but for me, it has a lot to do with religion. They carry out their activities shouting Allah Akbar, even if they shout Jesus is the Lord, it is still religion, there is a religious dimension, we are wasting a lot of time if we do not recognize and do not address this religious aspect".
Cardinal Onaiyekan then appealed to religious leaders so that they work together to address the problem. "In one way or another, someone has to break the vicious circle and I advised the government on this point", he concluded.
In the meantime, the death toll of the attacks on Sunday, January 26 has worsened. At least 45 people were killed in the assault against the Catholic church in the village of Wada Chakawa in the State of Adamawa, perpetrated by a group of armed men who arrived on an armored vehicle and a van. Other 85 people were killed in the assault against the village of Kauwuri in the State of Borno. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 29/01/2014)

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