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KAFANCHAN, Nigeria (Church Militant.com) - Bishops in Nigeria are working together to alleviate suffering for millions of persecuted Christians slaughtered by Islamic militants.
forced from their homes by roving bands of terrorists supported by the Muslim majority government.
Bishop Joseph Bagobiri of the Kafanchan diocese in Kaduna State in north-central Nigeria is urging all Christians in the region to fight for their constitutional rights, suggesting legal proceedings and possibly the formation of their own state, after the Muslim-majority government is failing to protect Christians from butchery. Bagobiri is calling for help from humanitarian lawyers to address the constitutional restrictions not just for the needs of the church, but for all Christian people of Nigeria.
In a show of solidarity, Abp. Ignatius Kaigama and three other bishops from the country's Catholic Bishops Conference presented the diocese with a twenty-million Naira donation, equivalent to $65,000, to aid the refugees in the region.
Some 8.5 million people are suffering from a humanitarian crisis, brought about by the ongoing war between Muslims and Christians. The money going to help those in need of food and medical care.
The region of Southern Kaduna has been heavily persecuted by Muslim terrorists since 2009. The systemic destruction of Christian villages continues by Fulani herdsman, enlisted by leaders of the Sunni Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram. Throughout the region, Christians have been butchered or burned alive, with millions forced from their homes only to face starvation or disease.
The herdsman claim rights to graze their cattle in land occupied by Christians, allowing the herds to trample and eat the crops, leaving the people with no means of support. Armed with machetes and AK-47s, the semi-nomadic tribes terrorize villages, indiscriminately slaughtering men, women and children or burning them alive along with the houses in the village. Muslim villages in the region are left untouched, and Muslim villagers are seen leaving before the attacks.
Just this week, armed men on motorcycles and in cars drove into Zaki Biam, a popular market, and began a shooting spree and set several buildings on fire. During the chaos, the gunmen targeted women and children and killed more than 50. No arrests have been made in the attacks and officials are denying it was the herdsman. Many claim the oppression is supported by the government through a lack of representation in public offices and an outright denial of human rights in refugee camps, where Christians are regularly denied medical care and access to food and water.
On a mission of solidarity and to assess the health of Bp. Bagobiri, who recently returned from a six-month hospital stay for an unnamed medical condition, Abp. Kaigama offered condolences and assured the ailing bishop and the people they are in his daily prayers. He is confident God will deliver them from these hardships soon, noting that persecutions can bring down the Church or lift it up, vowing his people will take back their land and remain strong in the Faith.
Bishop Bagobiri is asking the people of the region to continue praying, placing trust in God as their surest hope in the midst of these afflictions. A Rosary campaign has been ongoing in the region after Bp. Oliver Dashe Doeme received a vision of Our Lord, Who promised the defeat of Boko Haram through prayer of the Rosary.