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Prelate: Nigeria sitting on powder keg

Catholic World News - January 10, 2012

The Islamist terrorist organization that is targeting Christians in northern Nigeria has led Africa’s most populous nation to the brink of a situation more dangerous than the Nigeria Civil War (1967-70), according to a Nigerian prelate.

The Nigeria Civil War “had ethnic and political roots; the Boko Haram attacks imply ethnic, social, political, religious and even criminal dimensions,” said Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, a city targeted by several attacks in recent years.

Referring to Boko Haram’s demand that all Christians leave northern Nigeria, the prelate said that “at the moment I do not think there is a massive movement of Christians from the north, except in areas where several people were killed, in which the frequency of violence was very intense. In these areas the Christians, especially those from the south, as the Ibo people, are deeply anxious and are preparing to return to their home area.”

Archbishop Kaigama added that some Muslims in southern Nigeria, fearing a religious war, are making preparations to move to the largely Muslim north. “It is, in my opinion, a very dangerous development. The government must act decisively to stop the violence and rebuild a climate of mutual trust and safety for every Nigerian who lives in every part of the country.”

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