Bishop Doeme Oliver Dashe, of the Diocese of Maiduguri, Nigeria, disclosed Thursday that the number of the faithful of his diocese killed by Boko Haram is now more than 2,500.
The bishop, along with thousands of worshipers, has taken refuge in the parish of Saint Theresa in Yola, the capital of the state of Adamawa.
Maiduguri is the capital of Borno State in northeast Nigeria, and the Diocese of Maiduguri comprises the states of Borno, Yobe and parts of Adamawa. In 2013, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in these three states, where the violence of Boko Haram has been concentrated. Since then, however, the Islamist guerrillas have continued their inexorable advance, recently conquering areas under the banner of the “caliphate.”
Bishop Doeme said that most of the displaced persons with him in the parish of Yola have narrowly escaped being killed by members of Boko Haram, and that many families have been divided. The bishop also noted that on several occasions the Nigerian military flee without a fight before the Jihadist insurgents.
On Monday, more than 50 women and an unknown number of children were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents in the state of Adamawa. This latest abduction coincides with the release of confirmation by the Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau, of a kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls from a government secondary school in Borno State last April.
Fr. Gideon Obasogie, Director of Catholic Social Communications for the Maiduguri Diocese, said that over 90,000 persons have been displaced and over 50 churches and rectories burnt down by the insurgents.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of Caritas Nigeria, Fr. Evaristus Bassey declared: “On behalf of Caritas Nigeria and JDPC, the humanitarian and human development organs of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, I hereby express concern over the seemingly persistent and unabated situation in the North East. The simple truth is that Nigeria is at war.”