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Nigerian bishops declare day of prayer and fasting; death toll rises to 200

Catholic World News - December 30, 2011

As the suspected death toll from Christmas Day terrorist attacks on Nigerian churches approached 200, the bishops of Nigeria declared December 31 a day of prayer and fasting.

“The death toll of people considered either dead or missing from the very unfortunate tragedy is today feared to be about 200 people,” the bishops said in a statement. Referring to the attack on St. Teresa’s Catholic Church near Abuja, they said that “many of the wounded have now been hospitalized, while the church edifice and other buildings around are in ruins.”

“Members of the Boko Haram sect have claimed responsibility for this shameful crime against God and humanity,” the bishops continued. “We use this opportunity to call on our peace-loving Muslims, especially their leaders from the political, economic, social and religious spectrums, not only to publicly denounce these acts, but for their own good and good of Nigeria to be [proactive], and to do everything positive to end this movement.”

“Forgiveness is what the Lord Jesus has taught us’ that we might forgive this heinous crime against humanity, I call for a day of prayer, that all the faithful in Nigeria will pray and fast on December 31st, 2011,” the president of the episcopal conference concluded. “Pray for Nigeria in distress, and pray for peace in our nation and pray for good governance.”

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