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Nigerian Bishop: We pray that Boko Haram terrorists will convert

2015-02-26

Last year, the mass kidnapping of more than 200 girls from a Christian school in northern Nigeria shocked the world. After an international outcry, the story was quickly forgotten. The fate of the girls never came to light. Boko Haram, a Nigerian Islamic terrorist group, carried out the kidnapping.

Their violent campaign hasn't stopped: This January, they killed more than 2,000 people. 

Monsignor Martin Uzoukwu is the bishop of the Nigerian Diocese of Minna. Three years ago, terrorists bombed the door of his parish. He called on Muslims in his country to stand against  Boko Haram.

MONS. MARTIN UZOUKWU
Bishop of Minna (Nigeria)
"It's a group from Islam.  So what is it, if Islam is not gaining from it, why do they not stand up and condemn it?  We have appealed to our own leaders, Islamic leaders in Nigeria to come out boldly and condemn it.”

Boko Haram's attacks have become bolder and more frequent. The group's name means "Western education is a sin,” and they primarily target Christians. Their arsenal is becoming more sophistcated and comes from outside Nigeria.

MONS. MARTIN UZOUKWU
Bishop of Minna (Nigeria)
"So some people are gaining materially, maybe money they are giving them to buy the weapons, to come and kill us. So it's a vicious cycle.  That's why we need the international community because the weapons they are using in Nigeria are not made in Nigeria.”

However, Monsignor Uzoukwu has not lost hope that peace will come. As in the early days, they know that while they suffer just for being Christians, they must still pray for their persecutors.

MONS. MARTIN UZOUKWU
Bishop of Minna (Nigeria)
"This is our belief, that if Jesus did that many years ago, he can still do it today.  So we are praying for the conversion of the Boko Haram and all the people who are sponsoring them". 

Boko Haram's influence spreads beyond Nigeria. They have also carried out attacks in Niger, Chad and Cameroon. The jihadist terror threat has hit the heart of Africa.


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