AFRICA/NIGERIA - The Bishop of Nsukka after the massacre of 25 April: "A massacre announced; Where are the security forces?"

Monday, 2 May 2016 massacres   bishops  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "The most painful aspect of the Nimbo massacre is that it was announced, expected and executed without inhibition – in broad daylight!", says His Exc. Mgr. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah, Bishop of Nsukka, in Enugu State in the south-east of Nigeria, in a statement in the aftermath of the massacre of at least twenty people which took place in the early hours of April 25, in the town of Nimbus in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area.
"Again?" Is the question that the Bishop, in the document sent to Agenzia Fides reports noting that "similar stories had been heard from many parts of the country in recent times, including Abbi, another community in our Diocese, also in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area".
The Bishop denounces the shortcomings of the security forces that seem to have facilitated the attackers: "the State Government is reported to have made attempts to provide security in the area prior to the incident. But what those who lost their dear ones (especially those little babies now blankly staring into an uncertain future, because their fathers have been senselessly murdered) and all of us want to know is why, as the reports go, the security forces “tactically” withdrew shortly before the attack and why, when they later returned to the scene, there was no attempt to immediately pursue and arrest the perpetrators".
The massacre is attributed to Fulani herdsmen: on April 28 a group of them attacked, in another part of Nigeria, in the State of Edo, the car belonging to Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja. According to Mgr. Onah the attackers, as well as indiscriminately killing the inhabitants of Nimbus, in particular targeted the homes of Christian priests, both that of the Protestant pastor (which was burned) and that of a Catholic parish priest. In the latter case, only the lack of flammable liquid prevented the armed group to set fire to it.
The Bishop reports the concerns of the local population who wonders if the group that committed these atrocities are only Fulani herdsmen, or "whether Boko Haram has actually been weakened, as claimed by the government in Abuja, or has only been redeployed from the North East to the South East". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 02/05/2016)