Niamey (Agenzia Fides) - "In Niger, the celebration of the conclusion of Ramadan, Aid el Fitr, was celebrated yesterday. In the capital, Niamey, everything took place in the calm and serenity of this day of prayer and family celebration. Only a long black-out accompanied a good part of the day", Fr. Mauro Armanino, missionary of the Societies of African Missions (SMA), who works in Niamey told Fides. "The real and dramatic 'black-up' occurred in the village of Fangio, about 300 kilometers from Niamey, in the Songhay-Zerma area, where the country's first Catholic communities were born. The first Nigerian Catholic to be baptized, Antoine Douramane, came from this area. It was he who founded the community in Fangio", says Fr. Armanino reporting yet another attack by jihadist groups against Niger rural communities. "In the morning, around seven, armed men arrived on motorcycles and attacked the village in question, killing 5 people and injuring two others. The village was sacked and a member of the Christian community, named Joseph, was also killed". The jihadists also desecrated the local church. "They also burned the statue of Mary, the altar ornaments and various liturgical books", says Fr. Armanino.
"The state school headmaster's office was also destroyed. Again, everything that can represent a threat to the ‘jihadist’ hegemony they try to annihilate. It should be noted that, in the “Three Borders” area (Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger), the Chadian military is located in the framework of Operation Barkhane in the Sahel. In the same area, several hundred people have been killed by armed terrorist groups and bandits. Again, everything that can represent a threat to the ‘jihadist’ hegemony they try to annihilate. It should be noted that, in the “Three Borders” area (Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger), the Chadian military is located in the framework of Operation Barkhane in the Sahel. "Thousands of people have already fled, seeking refuge and safety elsewhere. It is estimated that at least one million people are internally displaced, with increasing needs for assistance from humanitarian agencies. Some of the Christians in this area live their faith in "secrecy" and, therefore, in fear of reprisals. The time of the martyrs is now, while the Feast of the Ascension is being celebrated", concludes Fr. Armanino. (M.A) (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 14/5/2021)