Lagos (Agenzia Fides) - The massacre at the Catholic Church in Owo (Ondo State, south-west Nigeria) on Pentecost Sunday marks a new dramatic stage in terms of the deterioration of the security situation in Nigeria and the threat to peaceful coexistence of faiths and ethnic groups in the country complex mosaic of Nigeria's population. The fact that the faithful of a Catholic Church were so brutally attacked in a state that, at least until then, had been spared sectarian violence is a further escalation of actions by armed groups, which now appear to threaten the entire Nigerian territory. Already the attack of March 28 on the train from Abuja to Kaduna in central Nigeria (see Fides, 30/3/2022) marked a turning point in the already serious situation of insecurity that the country has been in for several years, increasing concerns about a security collapse.
Local commentators spoke of an unprecedented act of violence, blaming the authorities' inability to act on intelligence reports. According to the Nigerian press, warnings of an imminent attack on the railway line had been received by intelligence agencies, the military, law enforcement agencies and even members of the local community, but went unheeded. The March 28 attack is all the more serious as the train was still considered a relatively safe means of transport, since travelers on the road between the federal capital Abuja and Kaduna can repeatedly become victims of kidnappings and robberies. (...)