Nigeria: Boko Haram claims responsibility for weekend attacks

2012-06-18 Vatican Radio

The Islamic Boko Haram group today (Monday) claimed responsibility for deadly attacks against Christian churches in northern Nigeria. Sunday's attacks hit the city of Zaria and the nearby city of Kaduna. This is the third weekend in a row that the Boko Haram group has conducted attacks on Nigerian Christian churches and churchgoers.

The Director of Communications for the Nigerian capital Archdiocese of Abuja, Fr. Patrick Tor Alumuku told Vatican Radio that the confidence of ordinary citizens in the ability of civil authorities to provide protection and secure order is eroding. “People can’t take it any more,” he said, “their patience has been drawn to an end.” Fr. Alumuku went on to say, “There is this feeling among the people that, if the government does not have the capacity to protect them, then they will have to protect themselves.” Nevertheless, Fr. Patrick says the bishops of Nigeria continue to stress the need for restraint. “[The bishops] are first asking that Christians continue to pray,” he said, adding that the bishops are calling on the faithful to remember their Gospel vocation. “Christians must not seek revenge,” said Fr. Alumuku.

The familiar short name, Boko Haram, comes from the locally-spoken Hausa language, and translates as, “Western education is sinful.” Among the stated aims of the group is the establishing of a government that would rule directly by shari’a – Islamic law. Boko Haram is responsible for more than 580 deaths this year alone. Listen to our report: