Nigerian bishops speak out as another 73 school children abducted

Originally published by Agencia Fides

“The abductions of school children present us with the prospects of a traumatised generation of young people,” says the Bishops of Nigeria of a scourge that has seen more than 1 000 students kidnapped from schools in northern Nigeria this year.

In the latest abduction, 73 pupils were abducted on Wednesday September 1 from the day secondary school in the village of Kaya, in the State of Zamfara in the north-west of the country. Police have since reported rescuing five girls and reuniting them with their families.

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The latest kidnapping comes a few days after the release of three other groups of hostages who were kidnapped in the federal State of Niger in northern Nigeria in May, apparently after the payment of a ransom.

It is an intolerable situation according to the bishops, who in the declaration published at the end of their second plenary meeting, denounce how in Nigeria “life has never been so cheap”.

In addition to the scourge of the kidnappings of students and adults, including members of the clergy, the bishops underline the widespread violence on the territory of the Nigerian federation. According to media reports, Fulani Islamic extremists murdered 36 Christians during multiple attacks in Kaduna state in northern Nigeria.

“Regrettably, except for the civil war, our nation has never witnessed the kind of widespread evil, wanton destruction and murderous bloodletting”.

“Deaths in the hands of kidnappers, killer herdsmen, bandits, terrorist groups have made Nigeria one of the most terrorised countries in the world”, say the bishops, who are calling upon the government to “take full responsibility for the present culture of violence”.

Addressing the Catholic faithful, the bishops underline that “as Christians, we are called to constantly hope in God who never fails. We, therefore, call on Nigerians to hope for a better Nigeria knowing full well that without hope we as a people cannot move forward”.

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