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Bishop tells MPs that prayer is greatest weapon in fight against terror

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A Nigerian bishop has told UK politicians that prayer is the key to combating jihadist groups in Africa.

Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme made this claim while speaking at the launch of Aid to the Church in Need's Religious Freedom in the World: Africa Update in the UK Parliament.

Bishop Doeme shared his experience from his work in the Diocese of Maiduguri: "The biggest source of hope, the greatest weapon we have against groups like Boko Haram, is prayer. Prayer has turned the tide against the terrorists in the north-east of Nigeria. 

“In my diocese, we started a Rosary campaign in 2013 and since then, thousands of terrorists have surrendered their weapons. Many displaced people have returned home and the situation has improved. 

“It is only through prayer that we will win the war we are fighting. Our fight is, first and foremost, a spiritual battle.”

The bishop urged UK politicians to encourage the Nigerian government to take stronger action against extremism, including support for those displaced by terrorist activities. He also called for independent bodies to be allowed to investigate alleged atrocities.

Aid to the Church in Need's report highlighted a surge of violence by jihadist groups across sub-Saharan Africa. It cited a 2023 study showing that violent incidents by militant Islamists accounted for 77% of all reported violent events across Africa in 2022.

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