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Nigeria: Christians flee Boko Haram threat; archbishop wants government action

Catholic World News - January 27, 2012

With thousands of Christians leaving their homes in northern Nigeria to escape threatened violence, the Archbishop of Abuja has called upon the government to initiate talks with the Boko Haram terrorist group.

"Sooner or later someone will have to talk to the Boko Haram,” said Archbishop John Onaiyekan; “and I think those who can talk to them are those who share their own expectations, but not their methods.” The archbishop said that it is unrealistic to think that the government can provide adequate security to protect all citizens against active terrorism, and that a political solution is required to end the Boko Haram attacks.

The archbishop said that the Nigerian government must take a more active role, rather than making half-hearted responses to the terrorist threats. He observed that the majority of Nigeria’s people do not support the campaign for an Islamic state, and hinted that the government should be more forthright in confronting the militant threat.

More than 35,000 Nigerians reportedly have left their homes to avoid the Boko Haram violence. The fears of violence increased with revelations that the terrorist group has been using mercenaries from other countries, and that Boko Haram activists have received training from Al Qaida militants.

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