Church Leaders in Nigeria Condemn “senseless act of violence” as Scores Die in Suicide Attacks

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Christian leaders in Nigeria have expressed concern about the June 29 suicide attacks in the country’s Borno State that left dozens dead, and described the attacks as “senseless acts of violence”.

On June 29, at least 18 people were reportedly killed and 30 others injured after a series of attacks by suspected female suicide bombers in the town of Gwoza in Nigeria's northeastern Borno state.

In a statement issued Wednesday, July 3 the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh said the Church leaders were “deeply worried by the recent suicide attacks in Gwoza, Borno state, which have claimed numerous lives and injured many others.”

“We are concerned about the resurgence of suicide bombing in our country and the threat it poses to the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians,” the President of the entity whose members include representatives of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) said. 

“This senseless act of violence is a stark reminder of the evil that terrorism represents, and the need for collective action to defeat it,” Archbishop Okoh said, and added, “The attacks in Gwoza are a stark reminder that terrorism is a threat to our collective humanity. Innocent lives were lost, and it could have been anyone - a family member, a friend, or a neighbor.”


He continued, “We must come together to condemn this evil and support the efforts of our security agents to keep us safe.”

The Church leaders commended agencies who he said had been working tirelessly to contain the threat of terrorism in the West African country.

Encouraging the security agencies “not to relent in their efforts”, Archbishop Okoh observed that necessary intervention is welcome to prevent “a relapse into the dark days of suicide attacks.”

“We must not let down our guards, as the situation could escalate and affect not only innocent lives but also worship centers and other large gatherings” the CAN president said.

He called on the government to intensify efforts to ensure the security and safety of all citizens, particularly in vulnerable regions.

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Archbishop Okoh also urged religious leaders and Nigerians to “unite against terrorism and violence, promoting peace, love, and harmony.”

“We pray for divine comfort and intervention in this difficult time. May God grant the families of the victims the fortitude to bear their loss, and may we all remain united in our quest for peace and security,” he implored.

He says CAN “will continue to support the efforts of our security agents and work together to build a safer and more peaceful Nigeria for all.”

“Let us remember that we are not alone in this fight against terrorism. We stand in solidarity with all those who have been affected by this evil, and we will continue to work together to ensure that it does not prevail,” the CAN President said, and implored, “May the souls of the departed rest in peace, and may God bless Nigeria and keep us safe.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.