Bishop of Yola: 'Without Concrete Assistance, Nigerian Christians Will Be Exterminated'

A Witness and an Appeal From the African Bloody Caliphate

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While there is some international attention on the siutation of the persecution of Christians and minorities in Iraq, less is said about similar atrocities happening in Africa.

A persecution has been going on systematically in Nigeria since 2009. It is related directly to an Islamist terrorist group known as Boko Haram (which literally means “western education is “forbidden” or is a “sin”). The official name is Jama‘at ahl as-sunna lidda‘awati wal-jihad (People committed to the prophet’s teachings for proselytism and jihad). This brutal group was founded in 2002 in Maiduguri, in northern Nigeria, by Islamist cleric Mohammed Yusuf.

It is estimated that the number of victims of the terrorist attacks has gone beyond 20,000 dead. Many of these have been killed during gatherings for Christian prayer. In just the first half of this year, 2,053 civilians were killed in an estimated 95 attacks, according to detailed analyses of media reports as well as field investigations presented by

The fear of the atrocities has led people to flee from their villages. Father Michael Walsh, a missionary from the Order of Saint Augustine (OSA), who has been operating in Nigeria for 18 years now, explains that it is unthinkable to expect ordinary people to face Boko Haram due to the extreme discrepancy in means. The terrorist group has years of training and sophisticated weaponry. Even the Nigerian Army is comparably “under-armed”.

ZENIT asked Bishop Stephen Dami Mamza of the Yola Diocese to explain the gravity of the threat that the Christian communities are facing. The answer of the Bishop was unequivocal: Christians are facing the danger of being totally exterminated.

ZENIT: There is a deafening silence about what is going on in Nigeria. Probably due to more “profitable” wars around the world. Can you explain to us what is going on?

Bishop Mamza: The situation in the North East of Nigeria is very critical especially in Southern Borno and Northern Adamawa. These regions are mostly Christian-dominated areas but they were overrun by the members of the Boko Haram including my home village, Bazza, taken over by the Boko Haram some two weeks ago. Those lucky to escape have escaped to the mountains and to the bushes; those who could not were killed by the Islamists. Others were forced to be Islamized.

The people trapped on the mountains are without food and clean water and many are dying of hunger. Most of those who escaped have arrived in Yola and are internally displaced. All the parishes on Yola are full of displaced people. In my Cathedral alone we have over 5,000 registered displaced persons. These displaced are in need of the basic necessities of life.

ZENIT: What dangers are the Christian communities facing around Nigeria?

Bishop Mamza: The Christian communities around the North east are facing the danger of being exterminated.

ZENIT: Why is there no local (national and official) real resistance against Boko Haram?

Bishop Mamza: There does not seem to be any assistance from the International community. Our military do not seem to be serious in handling the insurgency as they are on the run out of fear of Boko Haram.

ZENIT: Is Boko Haram related to and financed by the so called Caliphate? In other words, how come they are becoming this strong?

Bishop Mamza: I personally do not know the financier of Boko Haram but they seem to be funded by local and international groups and individuals.

ZENIT: What is your appeal and request to the world in this situation? How can people and nations help you out?

Bishop Mamza: My appeal and request to the world in this situation is for the world to come to our assistance before we are completely exterminated. Our military should be assisted to contain the situation. We need relief materials for those who are internally displaced. People are dying of hunger, diseases and they have no shelter.

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Robert Cheaib

Docente di teologia presso varie università tra cui la Pontificia Università Gregoriana e l’Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. Svolge attività di conferenziere su varie tematiche che riguardano principalmente la pratica della preghiera, la mistica, l’ateismo, il rapporto tra fede e cultura e la vita di coppia. Gestisce un sito di divulgazione teologica Tra le sue opere recenti: Un Dio umano. Primi passi nella fede cristiana (Edizioni san Paolo 2013); Alla presenza di Dio. Per una spiritualità incarnata (Il pozzo di Giacobbe 2015); Rahamim. Nelle viscere di Dio. Briciole di una teologia della misericordia (Tau Editrice 2015); Il gioco dell'amore. 10 passi verso la felicità di coppia (Tau Editrice 2016); Oltre la morte di Dio. La fede alla prova del dubbio (San Paolo 2017).

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