In the face of Boko Haram’s virtually unopposed march through Nigeria, the bishop of Maiduguri has called for western military intervention as the only way to effectively stop the advance of the radical Islamist movement, which is now allied to the Islamic State.
Oliver Dashe Doeme is bishop of the diocese hardest hit by Boko Haram, and has requested Western governments to step up and commit military force to defeat the increasingly powerful organization.
“The West should bring in security – land forces to contain and beat back Boko Haram,” said the Bishop Monday. “A concerted military campaign is needed by the West to crush Boko Haram.”
Doeme has said that Boko Haram is strategically superior and better trained than the Nigerian army, which has proved incapable of standing up to Boko Haram forces, and the only viable option remaining is recourse to the West.
In an interview with “Aid to the Church in Need,” an international Catholic charity, Doeme asserted that Nigeria’s military is weakened by cowardice, corruption and infiltration by Boko Haram elements.
“Among the soldiers, there were sympathizers with Boko Haram,” Doeme said, and “many of them just ran away.”
The bishop compared Nigeria’s critical situation with that of Mali in 2013, when French forces succeeded in ousting jihadists there.
He also said that the recent massacre in Baga shows the absolute ineptitude of the Nigerian military, and urged authorities to dismiss the negligent senior officers “as a lesson to the others.”
Doeme also accused the Nigerian government of knowing “who are sponsoring Boko Haram,” without doing anything about it.
The bishop paints a dismal picture of the havoc and destruction wrought by Boko Haram in his diocese. Within five years, he said, Boko Haram has decimated his diocese, destroying 50 churches and killing 1000 of his faithful. Some of them were killed merely “for refusing to convert.”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.