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Boko Haram aims at heart of Nigeria, archbishop says

Catholic World News - May 13, 2014

The Boko Haram terrorists who have kidnapped hundreds of young girls “want to hurt the heart of Nigeria,” an archbishop has told Aid to the Church in Need.

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos said that the international outrage stirred by the mass kidnappings marks a new stage in the conflict with the Nigerian terrorist group. The kidnappings had a particularly strong effect on Nigerian women, he said, observing that “women can identify themselves more with the pain of others.” As women organized demonstrations to call public attention to the abductions, the international community finally began to take notice.

Boko Haram has already killed thousands of people, Archbishop Kaigama remarked. He cited several attacks in his own Jos archdiocese, including one in which more than 100 men died, without drawing any international attention.

Among the young kidnap victims, the archbishop reported, “Most of the girls are Christians.” But there are many Muslims as well, he said. After originally concentrating on Christian targets, he said, Boko Haram has now killed Muslims as well. “It is no longer about north or south, nor about Muslims or Christians. It is about human beings.”

Asked about practical responses to Boko Haram, Archbishop Kaigama replied: “We tried dialogue and it didn’t work; the government used force and it didn’t work. At this stage, what we need to do is to pray.”

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