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Nigerian bishop seeks international military action against Boko Haram

January 21, 2015

A Catholic bishop in northeastern Nigeria has called for international military action to stop the terrorist offensive of Boko Haram.

Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme, whose Maiduguri diocese has felt the brunt of the Boko Haram violence, told Aid to the Church in Need that Nigeria’s own military cannot control the terrorists.

“A concerted military campaign is needed,” the bishop said. Boko Haram attacks on the regional capital of Baga exposed the weakness of a corrupt government, he added. Bishop Doeme charged that many Nigerian soldiers fled to avoid clashes with the terrorist group, while others are in sympathy with Boko Haram.

Bishop Doeme reported that in five years, Boko Haram has destroyed 50 churches within the territory of his diocese, while another 200 have been abandoned by people escaping from the violence. About 1,000 of his people have been killed, and more than half of the 125,000 Catholics in the diocese have fled.

If their progress is not checked, the bishop said, Boko Haram will expand the scope of its military adventures. He remarked that the terrorist group is already recruiting Islamic militants from neighboring Niger, Chad, Libya, and Cameroon. He said that the situation calls for an international intervention similar to the French campaign that restored order in Mali in 2013.

 
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