Conference denounces Boko Haram as 'an insidious evil'

30 May 2014

by Andrew Boyd

andrew boyd

Undecided about tactics: delegates at the ABLI  conference in Ghana last week

Undecided about tactics: delegates at the ABLI  conference in Ghana last week

THE growing threat of religious terrorism was one of the key themes at the fourth African Biblical Leadership Initiative (ABLI), in Ghana.

The three-day conference, which opened on Thursday of last week, called on the Islamist group Boko Haram to release the abducted schoolgirls in northern Nigeria.

The mood at ABLI towards Boko Haram ranged from hawkish outrage to dove-like appeals for empathy and understanding. Warnings for military restraint to avoid unnecessary bloodshed were countered by denunciations of Boko Haram as "a new and insidious evil" that had to be eradicated.

The ABLI declaration said: "Boko Haram must answer to everyone for these girls, and ultimately they must answer to Almighty God."

Yet the conference fell short of addressing exactly how the group should be brought to book.

A former Nigerian cabinet minister, Professor Jerry Gana, urged the Nigerian people to exercise restraint and avoid taking the law into their own hands. The General Secretary of the Bible Society of Ghana, the Revd Erasmus Odonkor, called for a pan-African initiative to tackle Boko Haram.

During the conference, church leaders called repeatedly for prayers for the release of the girls, for their parents, and for their captors. "It was indicative of the tone of the conference that there was also prayerfor Boko Haram," the conference moderator, Lord Boateng, said.

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