11 Dead after Suicide Bombers Attack Nigerian Catholic Church

11 Dead after Suicide Bombers Attack Nigerian Catholic Church
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
12 Mar 2012
Catholics worldwide are shocked at the latest atrocity in Nigeria after St Finbarr’s Church in the city of Jos was attacked by two suicide bombers during Sunday Mass.
So far 11 people have been confirmed dead and 22 injured. It the horrific bombing of the Jos headquarters of the Church of Christ on 26 February which killed four and severely wounded 28 men women and children.
Nigerian-born Father Felix Ekeh from the Mersey Leven Parish in Devonport, Tasmania has today asked Catholics everywhere to pray for Nigeria’s Christians.
“This is a very frightening time for my country and affects everyone who lives in Nigeria,” he says.
Fr Felix arrived in Australia almost four years ago along with two other Nigerian priests on a four year mission to work as Catholic diocesan priests in the Island state.
“Before I arrived in Tasmania there were incidents against Christians but since then the attacks against Christians have escalated and there is great fear,” he says.
The terror being waged on Nigeria’s Christians is being carried out by the Boko Haram, a Muslim extremist group with links to Al Qaeda.
The ruthless Boko Haram is the same group that shot dead an English and Italian hostage on 8 March last week. Englishman, Chris McManus and Italian, Franco Lamolinara were working for a construction company in Northwest Nigeria when they were kidnapped by Boko Haram in May last year. But last week they were murdered by their captors during an abortive rescue attempt by a  crack army team sent by British Prime Minister, David Cameron.
Shortly after shooting their hostages, Boko Haram declared war on Christians and announced that it would “launch a number of coordinated attacks” which were part of the militant Islamists plan to  eradicate all Christians from the northwest of Nigeria.
Yesterday’s bloody attack on St Finbarr’s Church during Mass in which a pregnant woman was one of those killed, has left Christians throughout Jos gripped by fear.
The Church Parish Priest, Rev Fr Peter Umorem said the attack happened ten minutes into the 10am morning Mass. “I was at the altar when I heard a loud explosion. Suddenly things were falling over, and there was pandemonium in the Church,” he said.
“Some members grabbed me and took me to a safe place. I later learned that it was a suicide attack and that the bomber tried to enter through the gate but was prevented.”
There was a member of the local Boy Scouts manning the gate at the time of the attack. It is believed when the suicide bombers could not get any further they rammed into the fence and exploded the device. The young Boy Scout was killed instantly.
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has denounced the bombing and urged his countrymen: “not to despair or be discouraged.” Meanwhile Governor of the Plateau State of which Jos is the capital, has visited the scene. He has also visited the injured who were rushed to hospitals across the city.
“Rather than weeping and mourning, we must pray to God to bring an end to these attacks,” he said.
But there is great anger throughout Jos over the lack of security despite the Government issuing a State of Emergency order last month.
One eye witness to the attacks says the car driven by two suicide bombers forced its way through the main gate of the church and exploded the bomb right in front of the church. But the question being asked is how the car managed to evade security checkpoints, particularly as St Finbarr’s stands no than 200 metres from Plateau State Government House and shares a fence with the Government’s Plateau Radio and Television Corporation.
Boko Haram’s plan is for all Muslims in Nigeria to move to the Northwest and all Christian to move to the South, or face further violence.
Despite the terror, the Archbishop of Jos, the Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama has urged Nigerians not to allow their country to be overtaken by terror. “Churches have been destroyed and lives lost and there is no sign this might end until the Government intervenes decisively,” he said today. He has also urged Christians in Nigeria to be vigilant and aware of the need for safety when they go to church or when they are in their own homes.
Christians are not only under attack in Nigeria but also face ongoing threats to their lives, their churches and their homes in Egypt, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq.
“We need to pray for Christians everywhere,” Fr Felix urges.

No comments yet

Comments are closed

Michigan SEO