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A Catholic bishop in Nigeria has criticised the government, likening it to the terrorist group Boko Haram, for not doing enough after the Christmas murders of Christians.  Bishop Kukah of Sokoto told Aid to the Church in Need he was disgusted with the authorities after the beheading of ten Christians by Islamic State in Borno state, on Boxing Day.  President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the murders and said the murderers had given Islam a bad name.  President Buhari wrote: “These agents of darkness are enemies of our common humanity and they don’t spare any victim, whether Muslims or Christians, and we shouldn’t let them divide us and turn us against one another.”

Bishop Kukah criticised Buhari’s government, saying: “The only difference between the government and Boko Haram, is Boko Haram is holding a bomb.  “They are using the levers of power to secure the supremacy of Islam, which then gives more weight to the idea that it can be achieved by violence.  With the situation in Nigeria, it is hard to see the moral basis they have to defeat Boko Haram.  “They have created the conditions to make it possible for Boko Haram to behave the way they are behaving.”  The murderers said they were avenging the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghadi, Daesh (ISIS)’s leader, and other senior Daesh members killed during a US raid in October.

This attack followed one on Christmas Eve by Boko Haram in which seven were killed.  The UN estimates that over 2.2 million have been displaced by Boko Haram’s actions and it’s estimated that between 2013 and 2015 more than 11,000 people were killed by the group.  Bishop Kukah said the Nigerian government gives tacit approval to such groups.  “If the people in power don’t do enough to integrate Christians then they give oxygen to Islamism.  If they have countries where everybody is Muslim in power then you give vent to the idea that Islam should be supreme.”

He added that the country is not receiving help from abroad: “Western nations have shown the resources of Africa are more important than the people.  The Western nations could reduce the influence of Boko Haram by 80 or 90% – but have deliberately not done enough.”  The bishop said “Christians feel ignored and insecure and there is a general feeling of marginalisation from the political process.  If the principles of our religion were different, there would be a civil war by now.  “It is to the glory of our religion that this hasn’t happened.  It is difficult to preach peace in this context. Resolution depends on how Christians react.  They won’t use violence but what will they do?”

Please pray:

* for the families of those killed this Christmas by extremists.

* asking God to stop the violence in Nigeria.

* the Nigerian government would take decisive action and that people on both sides would refrain from violence and live peacefully alongside their neighbours.

Source: Premier News Service