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Nigerian archbishop clarifies remarks, confirms churches have been burned down

Catholic World News - January 22, 2010

As calm returns to the north-central Nigerian city of Jos, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama has clarified comments he made about inaccurate media reports about the violence between Muslims and Christians there.

“It was affirmed that the spark that had caused the violence was from an attack and fire started at a Catholic Church. This has not happened,” he said. “It is true that a Protestant church was burned. From what I have so far managed to find out, several churches have been burned, but most are not Catholic. I repeat: there are too many rumors, including one on the destruction of the cathedral, which is absolutely not true.”

“The situation has returned to calm,” he added. “Police and army are patrolling the streets of the city and have imposed a curfew. I cannot give figures on the number of victims, how many houses, churches, or mosques have been burned, in part because of the curfew that does not allow me to move about freely. I fear that both Christians and Muslims will inflate figures regarding their victims. The authorities should be impartial and honest in presenting data on casualties and damage.”

In addition, the bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Ibadan have issued a statement denouncing the violence.

15% of Nigeria’s 142.5 million people are Catholic; 25% are Protestant, and 50% are Muslim.

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  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jan. 22, 2010 7:42 PM ET USA

    I don't get the Archbishop's point. Is the outrage diminished or the right to armed self-defense abridged by the denomination of the Churches being burned -- "most are not Catholic"? One path to peace in Nigeria is clear, convert to Islam, everyone.

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