Nigeria: Church attacked, 2 priests and 16 parishioners dead
By Joachim Teigen
The parish church of St. Ignatius was surrounded during morning Mass. As the faithful were leaving the church the perpetrators started shooting against the congregation. This is only the most recent in a series of attacks in Nigeria over the last few years.
Nigeria’s leaders respond
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari strongly condemned the attack, as did the local diocese of Makurdi who also expressed their grievance over the insecurity of the population.
Breadbasket of Nigeria
Fr. Patrick Alumuku, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Abuja, spoke with Vatican News. He explains that the attack happened in what is referred to as “the breadbasket of Nigeria”. “Groups of nomadic shepherds are forced to move south because of desertification, resulting in conflicts over lands and resources in this fertile region”, he says.
According to Human Rights Watch, more than 3000 persons have been killed in attacks since 2010.
“Boko Haram ideology”
While Boko Haram has not taken responsibility, this is clearly Boko Haram ideology Fr. Alumuku says, adding that these people are attacked because they are Christians, in a region where they constitute 95 percent of the population.
While Nigerian leaders have condemned the attack, Fr. Alumuku finds a proper response from the Nigerian government wanting, saying that “nothing has been done to stop the killings that are going on day in and day out”.