By Fr Paul Samasumo
Nigerian media are describing the Boko Haram Monday attack as one of the most brazen in recent months. The militants actually attacked a military base and two surrounding villages.
The incident occurred late Easter Sunday in the early Monday morning. and included gun battles between government troops and the militants. The militants were bent on entering Maiduguri, a city in northeast Nigeria which is the epicentre of a nine-year conflict.
Army spokesman Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu said Fifteen persons including a soldier have so far been confirmed dead in the encounter, while about 83 persons suffered varying degrees of injuries were said to be receiving medical attention.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari previously declared the defeat of Boko Haram, which is trying to establish an Islamic state in northeast of Nigeria.
In the last 9 years of this protracted conflict, over 20,000 lives have been lost; two million villagers have been displaced and countless others victims of abductions. Hundreds of families have been forced to abandon livelihoods and seek shelter in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, where they are living in camps or with host families.
When contacted by Vatican News, the Nigerian Catholic Secretariat condemned the ongoing terror by Boko Haram and called on the government to do more to protect innocent civilians.