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JALINGO, Nigeria (ChurchMilitant.com) - A bishop from Nigeria is warning that Boko Haram, in fear of losing its influence, has tried implementing a new strategy involving arming Muslim herdsmen to attack Christian farmers and drive them out of areas halved between the religions.
The concerned bishop, Charles Hammawa of Jalingo, Nigeria, has said he has seen evidence proving this is indeed Boko Haram's new game plan after they have been driven back in frontal assaults.
"It appears to be a strategy to deliberately populate areas with Muslims and, by the sheer weight of superior numbers, influence political decision-making in the region," said the bishop.
He highlighted that in the past, disputes between Muslim and Christian farmers would flare up and die down quickly, but over the recent years, these disputes have become more intense, leaving "numerous dead, destroyed many communities, and displaced thousands of people."
In April of last year, another Nigerian bishop, Oliver Dashe Doeme, head of the diocese of Maiduguri, said Jesus appeared to him holding a sword while praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. According to the bishop, the moment he took the sword from Jesus' hands, it transformed into Rosary beads. He then heard Christ repeat three times, "Boko Haram is gone."
"I didn't need any prophet to give me the explanation. It was clear that with the Rosary we would be able to expel Boko Haram," he explained.
Boko Haram has recently picked a new leader, Abu Musab al-Barnawi, and he has promised to kill more Christians and burn down more Christian churches, while leaving Muslims untouched. The leader's reasoning for attacking churches is, in his own words, because the West "strongly seek[s] to Christianize the society," and "[t]hey exploit the condition of those who are displaced under the raging war, providing them with food and shelter and then Christianizing their children."