Niger's Archbishop of Niamey Decries More and More Young Nigeriens Enlisting in Boko Haram

Archbishop Michel Cartatéguy Says They Join for Economic, Not Religious Reasons

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“More and more young Nigeriens are being enlisted in the Boko Haram movement, especially in the region of Diffa.”

This was the observation of Archbishop Michel Cartatéguy of Niamey, capital of Niger, who sent Fides a document with this statement.

According to Fides, the archbishop reported on statements made by Members of Parliament of the region of Diffa, which is located in the far east of Niger on the border with Nigeria.

«The MPs said they are concerned about the growing number of young Nigeriens, boys and girls, who swell the ranks of the Boko Haram sect,» he said.

«According to MP Manzo Nassirou,» the young people of Diffa “are recruited every day, and these young people know Diffa better than members of Boko Haram and can show them where they have to carry out attacks,» the archbishop wrote.

The widespread view in Niger, Archbishop Cartatéguy noted, is that most of the young Nigeriens join the ranks of Boko Haram for economic, not religious reasons.

In Diffa, the archbishop estimated, there are now 150,000 refugees from Nigeria and internally displaced persons, resulting from Boko Haram’s violence.

While lamenting that the recent cholera epidemic that hit the refugees made the situation worse, he also criticized that international press speaks very little of the situation in Diffa.

Despite the region’s poverty, Archbishop Michel Cartatéguy said the local population continues to welcome refugees «with fraternity and hospitality.»

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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