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Photo Credit: ACN
Photo Credit: ACN
World News

'God will crush Boko Haram in his own time': Nigerian bishop's faith unshaken after Christmas Eve massacre

by Tola Mbakwe

A Nigerian bishop has vowed not to give into fear terrorists want to bring into the country. 

A Christmas Eve attack by Boko Haram left at least eleven dead and two church buildings razed to the ground, but Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri said he strongly believes Islamist violence is doomed for failure.

In an interview with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), he said in a way he was not emotionally shaken by the attack in Pemi, near Chibok, where in 2014 more than 270 mostly Christian schoolgirls were kidnapped. 

Speaking after the Christmas Eve attack in which a priest was abducted, Bishop Oliver said:

"One thing that Boko Haram will never take from us is our faith. 

"We will never allow our faith to be taken away by any evil. 

"Our faith is becoming stronger and stronger. 100 people were baptized in one parish on Christmas Eve. People are so committed."

According to Nigerian human rights organisation Intersociety, up to 12,000 Christians have been killed by violent conflict since June 2015.

However, Bishop Oliver said that Boko Haram's actions were actually strengthening the spread of Christianity.

He said: "Last year in my diocese we had more Catholics than when there was no Boko Haram crisis. 

"As long as the kingdom of God continues, no evil human forces will overcome it. 

"Over 200 churches have been burned down, as well as schools, but we will not be defeated."

He added: "We are a people of faith and, in terms of the Church, Boko Haram is not the only evil we have faced. 

"God will crush Boko Haram in his own time."

This is not the first time Islamist groups in Nigeria have mounted an attack over Christmas.

In 2019, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) beheaded ten Christians on Christmas Day while Boko Haram killed seven during a Christmas Eve raid.

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