Despite Fear of Suicide Bombs, Displaced Nigerians Celebrate Christmas

Bishop Doeme of Maiduguri Offers Consolation in Christmas Message

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Even if displaced by Boko Haram’s attacks and fearful of terrorist attacks, the displaced people in Nigerian Diocese of Maiduguri celebrated Christmas.

Fr. Gideon Obasogie, the diocesan director of communications, made this observation, reported Fides yesterday.

“The Catholic faithful went to Christmas Mass, majority of whom are internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the Adamawa part of the diocese (Pulka, Madagali, Gulak, MichiKa, Mubi) to express their faith in an eloquent manner,” the spokesman told the agency.

For some time, the Diocese of Maiduguri has been under siege with IDPs fleeing from the terrorist group Boko Haram’s violence.

Of the some 5,000 displaced persons who have been welcomed in Maiduguri, the majority come from the areas of Adamawa State which have fallen under Boko Haram’s control.

Specifically, this was the case in the capital city of northern Nigeria’s Borno State, Maiduguri, where from Dec. 25-28, the streets were vehicle-free in order to avoid any suicide bombings.

Fr. Obasogie lamented that these people “have no homes, cannot celebrate Christmas, as usual, with their relatives and friends and are forced to live in a state of hopelessness”.

However, he said, “Despite lack of security (also because they is widespread rumor of suicide bombers disguised as nuns), Christmas was celebrated with great joy and faith in the city of Maiduguri.”

He also commented that a Christmas message which the Bishop of Maiduguri Oliver Dashe Doeme sent offered the people of Maiduguri “great consolation.”

In the message, the spokesman said that the bishop prayed that their “sorrowful hearts” would be “transformed into foundations of great bliss, as he assured them of the fact that their names were written in the book of life in heaven even as they suffer pains and rejection on earth.” 

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