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Nigeria: Catholic Church Denies Existence of 'Christian Militia'


 

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Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)

May 7, 2004
Posted to the web May 7, 2004

Nairobi

The Catholic Church in Nigeria has vehemently denied media reports alleging the existence of a Christian militia said to be behind the attacks in the northern Plateau State, in which more than a hundred people had died as of Wednesday May 5, 2004.

In a statement by Fr Felix Ajakaye, the Director of Social Communications in the Nigerian Episcopal Conference, told CISA that no coordinated attacks by Christians have ever taken place.

"There is the purported report of the existence of 'Christian Militia' and genocide in Nigeria," Fr Ajakaye said told CISA. "To the best of our knowledge here, it is not glaring that such a 'Christian Militia' group exists in Nigeria."

In a Communiqué released during their plenary meeting last March, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria condemned any form of violence and called for brotherly co-existence between Muslims and Christians for the welfare of the country.

"Being a good Christian or a good Muslim necessarily includes brotherly love, compassion, truth, justice, and equity in relationship with others," partly read the communiqué signed by Archbishop John Onaiyekan, the President of the Nigerian Bishop's Conference. "We abhor, therefore, the recent violence committed against innocent citizens in Plateau State by some religious fanatics."

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The bishops called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to address concretely both ethnic and religious crises "rather than chasing the shadow".

"We continue to denounce any act of violence committed in the name of God or religion. We condemn fanaticism or any ideological agenda that endangers our common welfare. We should refrain from any exploitation of religion for selfish interests," they said.



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