AFRICA/NIGERIA - Attacks in Kaduna: the testimony of the Bishop of Zaria to Fides Agency

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "I was preaching during the second morning Mass, when around 9, we heard a loud explosion. The car bomb created a crater 2 feet deep, all around there was broken glass, rubble and burning cars ": this is the dramatic attack to the Cathedral of Christ the King, reported to Fides by His Exc. Mgr. George Jonathan Dodo, Bishop of Zaria, a city in Kaduna State (northern Nigeria), where yesterday, Sunday, June 17, suicide bombers hit two Christian churches. In addition to the car bomb which exploded near the Catholic Cathedral (the bomber was stopped by the security service and was unable to get close to the place of worship), another bomb hit the Evangelical Church of the Good News. The attackers hit another church in Kaduna, the capital of the State. This is the church of Shalom. "I am in contact with the Governor and police authorities to see how to ensure the safety of the faithful. The maximum security authorities arrived on the site of the attack to calm tempers," said the Bishop. Mgr. Dodo does not have news of reprisals in Zaria against Muslims, but adds that he is aware of the fact that "in Kaduna there were reprisals against citizens of Muslim religion. Especially when the news of the attack against the Pentecostal church spread, young people responded with violence, destroying some properties." "In the past few weeks several Christian churches in northern Nigeria have been attacked, it is likely that the perpetrators of this violence are following a precise agenda," concludes Mgr. Dodo. In the attacks and subsequent reprisals, according to authorities, 45 people have died. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 18/6/2012)