Nigerian bishop suspects government-level support of new wave of Islamist terror
"it is suspected that their kin in government and the military are able to supply these arms to them."
O'Flaherty und John Pontifex
Roman Catholic bishop has accused authorities in Nigeria of clandestinely
supplying weapons to an Islamist terrorist network, charging that the
organization has infiltrated federal and state governments.
Bishop Joseph Bagobiri of
Kafanchan, Kaduna state, in northern Nigeria, told international Catholic
charity Aid to the Church in Need that the government has done little or
nothing to stem “a wave of terror” by Islamist Fulani herdsmen targeting Christians
and others—deadly violence, which, he added, has claimed some 1,000 lives in
the past year.
The bishop made his comments
in the wake of an April 15 attack by Fulani herdsmen, who assaulted Catholics gathering
for an Easter Vigil service outside a church in Asso village, near Kaduna.
Twelve people were killed, 10 of them Catholics.
Describing the Fulani
extremists as a “sister organization” to terror group Boko Haram, Bishop
Bagobiri reported that no arrests have been made so far. He said: “Given the
sophisticated nature of the weapons used in the [attack], it is suspected that
their kin in government and the military are able to supply these arms to them.”
He continued: “Fulanis are
in charge of customs, immigration and ministry of internal affairs in Nigeria
today. Therefore it is easy to bring dangerous weapons across our borders with
no one to prevent this. When weapons are intercepted, they are often turned
over to the police and other security agencies and nothing will be heard about
such weapons again.
“Again, government at both
the state and federal level is headed by Fulanis who seem to be more
sympathetic to the aggressors and killers than to the vulnerable victims.”
In his homily during the
funeral Mass for some of the victims of the April 15 attack, the bishop said:
“The Fulani herdsmen terrorists and their sister terrorist organizations are operating
in the world today. This is exactly what the Fulani jihadists are doing today
in southern Kaduna, the middle belt region and now with incursions into both
the south-east and south-west of Nigeria.”
The bishop noted that the Fulani attackers had the use of a getaway vehicle and
“sophisticated weapons” to kill the Christians who were gathering to pray. He
added: “We can see that there is a well-hatched and heavily-funded program of
The bishop also called on
the Nigerian government to take action against alleged vote gerrymandering
to favor Islamic candidates at the expense of Christian interests in local
elections. He called on media “to find a way to draw the world’s attention to
this menace of the Fulani Herdsmen’s terrorist activities.”
Three victims of the Asso attack; ACN photo