AFRICA/NIGERIA - The serious insecurity in the region has contributed to aggravating the consequences of the fire at the Kateri Seminary

Friday, 13 January 2023 seminaries   jihadists  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - The insecurity in which large parts of Nigeria live can have unexpected consequences. According to the rector of the minor seminary of Kateri, in the state of Kaduna (northwestern Nigeria), Father Edward Sati, the fire which seriously damaged the seminary on January 9 could have been avoided or at least limited in its damage, if the students had been present. Instead, the priest points out, due to the insecurity in the area, all students and villagers have moved to safe areas, while the school and the neighborhood have become deserted places. "So when the fire broke out, the security men raised the alarm, and before the young men came running to help us put out the fire, the damage was done; however, we praise the brave young men who helped us".
Father Sati explained that for more than two years the management has been transferring students to Kafanchan and Zaria due to continuous bandit attacks.
The Seminary (St Peters Minor Seminary Kateri) suffered damages estimated at more than 100 million Naira (about 204,240 euros). The fire destroyed the fully equipped science laboratory, two accommodation blocks, a 500-seat student canteen with an adjoining kitchen.
Confirming the insecurity in which the population of Kaduna lives, also on January 9, eleven members of the security forces were killed in an ambush by unidentified armed men around a mining site in the Birnin Gwari region. "Seven members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) were ambushed and killed, along with five members of another security agency and a local security service," said Olusola Odumosu, spokesperson for the NSCDC, a paramilitary organization created in 2003 to support the army.
The Birnin Gwari forest (see Fides, 10/1/2023) is one of several strongholds of criminal gangs, in addition to the jihadist group affiliated to al-Qaeda Ansaru, and the Islamic State in West Africa (Iswap), a dissident branch of Boko Haram.
Last May, Kaduna Governor Nasiru el-Rufai claimed that Iswap and Ansaru had established bases in his state, including Birnin Gwari.
Attacks by criminal gangs, militias and heavily armed Islamist militants occur regularly across Nigeria, where insecurity will be a major issue in presidential elections to be held in late February for President Muhammadu Buhari's succession. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 13/1/2023)