AFRICA/NIGERIA - New violence committed by Boko Haram: perhaps 2,000 dead, several churches burned

Friday, 9 January 2015

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - Even several churches have been burned in the last series of attacks committed by Boko Haram in the city of Baga and in the surrounding villages, in the Nigerian Borno state, which according to some media reports have claimed up to 2000 victims.
"I received a message of the Christians Association of Nigeria, the association of Christian churches in Nigeria, which states that in that area Boko Haram has burned several churches and caused numerous victims" says Fr. Patrick Tor Alumuku, Director of Social Communications of the Archdiocese of Abuja, the federal capital of Nigeria to Agenzia Fides.
The Boko Haram group attacked Baga town on Wednesday, where in recent days it had conquered the multinational military Task Force base in charge of ensuring the safety of the area. In the attacks committed in the past two days, according to official Nigerian media, a hundred people have died. "Though it is noted that in general the national media tend to reduce the number of victims not to further inflame the minds" says Fr. Patrick.
"One must bare in mind that the presidential election campaign for February has opened this week. The situation is particularly delicate", says the priest.
The population in the area is fleeing from the advance of Boko Haram. "When those of Boko Haram arrive in a major city they make no distinction between Christians and Muslims, and the population flees, without distinction of religion. Boko Haram separates Muslims from Christians only in the smaller villages", recalls Fr. Patrick. "Next to the combatants from Nigeria, Boko Haram has been strengthened by jihadist members from Libya and Mali. Their goal is to create a caliphate in northern Nigeria", concluded the priest. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 09/01/2015)