Nigeria: Eerie calm descends on bombed city

Bombings by the Boko Haram Muslim sect in Nigeria may have been intended to secure the release of illegal immigrants from Niger and Chad.

"The situation is a bit calmer. There is a heavy deployment of police and military. A curfew from 7 pm to 7 am is still underway. Although limited in its movements, however, the population tries to lead a normal life", reports Catholic Bishop John Namaz Niyiring of Kano. It was in Kano, on January 20, that  armed gangs belonging to the Boko Haram Muslim sect attacked several targets where at least 178 people died and hundreds of people were wounded.

"Today we celebrate the funerals of the victims, while tomorrow the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kano held a moment of prayer for peace and for the victims. When the situation stabilizes, we will hold meetings with Muslim leaders to restore peace and discuss how to achieve a peaceful coexistence", announces the Bishop.

 "The police have found at least 10 cars abandoned by the terrorists inside which were found unexploded explosive devices", said Mgr. Niyiring. "Several members of Boko Haram were captured who are now undergoing interrogation by security forces. According to the information we have collected, a good portion of those arrested are foreigners, at least 80 percent. These people speak the Hausa language with a foreign accent as well as some Chadian languages", says the Bishop of Kano.

"So there are terrorists among a good number of people from Chad. But Chad is not so close to Kano. How do you explain this?" let us ask Msgr Niyiring. "We must keep in mind that Boko Haram has been operating for some time in Maiduguri, in the Borno state of Nigeria, which borders Chad. From Maiduguri to Kano there is a-5-hour drive", says the Bishop, who outlines a kind of progression of the Boko Haram sect in northern Nigeria along the road connecting the two cities. "From Maiduguri the Boko Haram activities have expanded to Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State, and then touches Pokiskum and finally arriving in Kano".

According to Bishop Niyiring there is also another explanation why on on 20 January police stations were attacked.

"Some days before that tragic Friday - Bishop of Kano explains -  many illegal immigrants (originally from Chad and Niger) were conducted in the local security structures pending deportation. The attacks were designed to free these people, some of whom had been recruited by Boko Haram. Unfortunately, many immigrants find themselves in serious economic and social difficulties, and are therefore exposed to any kind of religious appeal. Some of them end up being indoctrinated by members of Boko Haram" concludes Bishop Niyiring

Source: FIDES

Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.


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