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“As I was lying there, one of the gunmen threw a tiny light close to me. It immediately registered in my head that it could be dynamite, so I started dragging myself away for safety, but before I could go far, the dynamite exploded and burned my back and my left leg.”
“But then I heard a second loud noise, and I saw parishioners running in different directions in the church. I stood there in shock, wondering what was going on, when someone ran to me, yelling: ‘Father, unknown gunmen!’
“It is Pentecost Sunday, a time every Catholic is expected to be in Church to commemorate the Solemnity. It is so sad to say that while the Holy Mass was going on, men of unknown origin, wielding guns, attacked St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.”
When asked about the fact that many northern states have sharia law, and therefore do not have 100 percent religious freedom, he laughs. “100 percent? If we had 30 percent religious freedom, we would be happy!”
Bishop Álvarez, who has taken refuge during in the parish of Santo Cristo de las Colinas, in Managua, accused the police of having set up roadblocks to prevent priests from reaching the parish to celebrate Mass with him.
“I invite you to accompany with fervid prayer the Christian faithful in China, our dearest brothers and sisters, whom I carry in the depth of my heart. May the Holy Spirit, protagonist of the Church’s mission in the world, guide them and help them to be bearers of the Good News, witnesses of goodness and charity, and builders of justice and peace in their country.”
Bishop Kukah appealed “to Christians to remain law abiding and pray for the return of normalcy and congratulates the local authorities and police for their work in dispersing the crowd before they could do further damage.”
“The increase in kidnappings, murders and general violence against civilians, including members of the Catholic clergy in many parts of Nigeria, is a scourge that is yet to be properly addressed by the local authorities,”
“In 27 years of service, I have observed that they prefer Christians only as sweepers not as managers. This prejudice runs deep in society even among those educated.”
“Then they shot the five of us in the head at the same time. Laying there, I could hear them saying, mu kai gawan su a church, saba da susani bamu wasa! (“Let’s take the dead bodies to church so that they will take us very seriously!”).