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Bishop urges UK to help Nigeria fight Boko Haram

23 January 2015


International objection: a protest against Boko Haram, in Paris, on Sunday 

International objection: a protest against Boko Haram, in Paris, on Sunday 

THE Bishop of Bolton, the Rt Revd Christopher Edmondson, has called on the Government to send "urgent help" to Nigeria to help it tackle Boko Haram terrorists, as church leaders in that country accused the West of sitting back while people were "killed like animals".

In an interview with the Baptist World Alliance, the President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, the Revd Samson Ayokunle, expressed "consternation" at the attitude of the international community in the face of the destruction.

"The earnestness with which they intervened in the ISIL attack in Syria and Iraq, or the Taliban problem in Afghanistan . . . is not shown in the case of Nigeria."

He accused the world community of devaluing Nigerian lives: "Does it not matter to the rest of the world if Boko Haram continues to kill hundreds of people every week? Are these people less human than those being killed in other places where they have gone to directly intervene? My people are being killed like animals and the whole world is just watching."

Boko Haram fighters carried out a cross-border raid into Cameroon last week, capturing dozens of hostages, including women and children.

Up to 24 of the 80 people seized managed to escape after the terrorists were pursued by Cameroon's military. The others are believed to have been taken back into Nigeria.

Boko Haram has established a stronghold in north-eastern Nigeria, and is growing increasingly confident about crossing the border. Troops from neighbouring Chad have been deployed in northern Cameroon to try to contain Boko Haram fighters.

Bishop Edmondson this week called on British people to urge the Government to support the fight against Boko Haram.

"The Islamist terror group Boko Haram has murdered hundreds of people and destroyed thousands of homes. In fact they have been carrying out religious and ethnic cleansing in north-east Nigeria for years. Some estimates say up to 31,000 lives have been lost to date, and over one million people have fled their homes, enduring horrific conditions in Internally Displaced Persons camps in safer areas or refugee camps abroad.

"Despite the scale of this violence and its effects, the crisis has been relatively under-reported. The Rt Revd Benjamin Kwashi, Archbishop of Jos State, is quoted as saying: 'I don't know how many more lives Boko Haram must kill before Western powers show they care.'

"Will you please join me in asking the UK Government to take action in condemning what is taking place, and to send urgent help to Nigeria. Solidarity with the people of Nigeria is important, but they need action as well to address this outrage."

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