Lagos, Nigeria, Feb 26, 2006 / 22:00 pm
The Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria has condemned the recent wave of violence that has swept across the region of Maiduguri in the state of Borno, as Muslim extremists continued to protest the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed.
According to the CISA news agency, more than 70 people have been assassinated—including Catholic priest Father Michael Gajere—in northern Nigeria. 200 have been injured and various churches have been destroyed. Another 40 people were injured during protests in the southern region of Onitsha.
“The way in which the protests have been carried out, as indicated in the newspapers, clearly shows a great plan by the perpetrators to submerge the country into crisis because of religious reasons,” the bishops said in a statement.
“Upon reviewing the available reports, it would seem that the police are tacitly supporting the violent acts of these fanatics, given that once these acts of vandalism were committed there were ‘deliberately’ hidden,” the bishops added.
Likewise they urged the Nigerian government to “put a plan into action so that events like those in Maiduguri will not take place and so that the churches and the families affected will be duly compensated.”