The radical Islamic group Boko Haram destroyed at least 185 churches after it captured towns in the states of Borno and Adamawa. Over 190,000 people were displaced due to the terrorists.
“It is over 30 days now that our Church communities in Gulak, Shuwa, Michika, Bazza… were sacked by the callous attacks of the Boko Haram terrorists,” said Rev. Gideon Obasogie, the Director of Catholic Social Communication of Maiduguri Diocese in Borno State. “While Gwoza and Magadali had been under the tyrannical and despotic control of the terrorists and this is almost the sixtieth day. Our Priests are displaced, while citizens, who were supposed to celebrate their independence as a free Nation, were rather counting their losses and regrets as they had been reduced to the status of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs. Where is the freedom?”
Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden,” but the group attacks anything to do with the West, especially Christianity. The group attacked the Yobe State College of Agriculture in September, 2013. They killed 53 students as they slept. In April, the terrorists kidnapped over 200 Christian schoolgirls. They are known to kidnap Christian women to be slave brides for members. Christian teenager Hajja told Reuters about her ordeal after she was kidnapped in Gwoza.
Nigerians constantly flee to neighboring Cameroon to escape Boko Haram. President Jonathan Goodluck declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa in May, 2013, but it did nothing to stop the attacks. Lives in these states are disrupted on an almost daily basis. Said Obasogie:
Life is really terribly difficult. We are waiting eagerly to go back home, even as it is obvious that we are going to reconstruct our looted and burnt houses and ecclesial structures. We have been sacked for months, sleeping in uncompleted buildings, camps and school premises. We have been absorbed into houses of relations and friends in sixties and seventies. Meals time is always difficult and shameful. We have counted weeks rolling into months, must we also count years? We are waiting to go back home!
He continued: “Talking about resumption, our children have not been fed and well clothed, so resumption to schools is practically out of our calculation. In our opinion if thousand of Nigerian children can’t go to school then in the long run ‘boko is really haram.’ Then their future is at stake, quite bleak.”
On Monday, the terrorist group beheaded seven people in the town of Ngamdu located in Borno. Resideny Musa Abor said the attackers “slit their (victims) throats just the way people slaughter goats. An anonymous official also claimed “the bodies had been decapitated.” The bodies were not identified as of Tuesday morning.