Tuesday, June 14, 2011

AFRICA: NIGERIA: BISHOP ATTESTS TO VIOLENCE

Agenzia Fides REPORT - The Diocese of Maiduguri, whose territory covers two and a half states situated in the northeast of Nigeria, for years has experienced series of sectarian crises. His Exc. Mgr. Oliver Dashe Doeme, Bishop of Maiduguri, sent his testimony to Fides about the events that have affected his diocese in recent years.
"Since 2006 our diocese has experienced series of sectarian crisis, which have led to the killings of its members, burning of churches, residential homes and business centres. The popular Boko Haram sect struck in 2009 for the first time. Even on this occasion it was the same story of killing, maiming, burning of churches, houses and business centres. The same group resurfaced in 2010 and 2011, becoming more pronounced and renowned in unleashing terror on people.
The diocese has had her share of this act of terrorism also this year. It started with the post election violence, which left, one of the diocesan secondary schools situated in Potiskumburnt down to ashes in April. On May 27, on the eve of the swearing in of the Head of State, Goodluck Jonathan, one of our Churches, in Damboa, was burnt down. While we were celebrating the Solemnity of Ascension, we were visited by a massive bomb attack which caused serious damage to St. Patrick's Cathedral, where the Bishops' Secretariat is situated. This powerful bomb was placed beside the Cathedral fence, just by the room where one of our priests live. The bomb caused severe damage to the offices of the Secretariat and only God saved the life of the priest from being torn to pieces who was at the time of the explosion in his room. We thank the Lord the priest came out without a scratch. Five days later, on June 7, another bomb, more massive more devastating exploded, it was planted in a car on the road beside the fence on the opposite side. (see Fides 08/06/2011).
Its explosion was devastating. The priests present were thrown to the ground. The roof of the Secretariat was brought down leaving no door or window on the whole compound standing. The damage was great, to the point that offices of the Secretariat and the priest's house need to be reconstructed ". (L.M.)

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