Archbishop of Jos: foreign intervention to stop violence
(Vatican Radio) The Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama spoke to Vatican
Radio's Linda Bordoni and expressed his deep, deep sadness for the fact that "lives
are being taken very casually. This doesn't seem to stop. it seems to increase. It
is not only the ordinary villagers who are being killed, but also some senior government
officials. It is so bad,and it is our prayer that something definitive will be done
to stop the situation that is inhuman".
Dozens of people have been reported
killed this weekend in the Nigerian Plateau State where ongoing violence has seen
repeated attacks, mainly against the Christian community. Two Nigerian politicians
died on Saturday during an attack on a funeral for victims of communal violence that
led to at least 37 deaths. The military said the funeral assault and Saturday's
attacks on Christian villages near Jos in Plateau state were probably carried out
by the same men. Muslim herdsmen from the Fulani ethnic group were blamed for the
violence, but they denied any wrongdoing. The military had said a total of 37 people
were killed on Saturday, including two policemen, about 21 of the attackers and 14
Christian villagers. But other sources put the death toll much higher and reported
piles of burnt bodies being discovered.
Archbishop Kaigama, who is currently
in Rome where he was awarded a prize for peacebuilding, says he has been speaking
to his priests in Jos who feel sad and helpless. He says "there was a time when our
words were very therapeutic in the sense they provided soccour for the people, and
comfort. But when people are attacked repeatedly they despair". And now - he says
they are desparate and frustrated.
The Archbishop says he spoke to Plateau
State Governer, whom he says, is devcstated. "He told me he believes that the attackers
were people hired from outside to come and cause this havock. He believes they were
hired and armed. He does not believe that the attackers were local Fulanese from the
Archbishop Kaigama says he has received many expressions of solidarity
and he on the request of the Federal House of Representatives he will be celebrating
Mass in Rome on Wednesday morning in sign of solidarity.
The Archbishop says
he believes that "the issue must be approached collectively". He says "the issue
of security cannot be left to just one country or one area. There has to be a collective
effort. He says he believes that with some proper intelligence networking, intelligence
gathering" the violence can be stopped.
He says that "foreign governments should
help in the area of intelligence and equipment to gather intelligence and stop this