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Islamic extremists fatally shot worshippers, torched churches

Suspected Islamic extremists sprayed gunfire at worshippers and torched four churches in Nigeria on Sunday in a village just miles from the town where more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped, witnesses said.

As the SCO went to press, at least 30 bodies have been recovered but more were turning up in the bushes, where people tried to escape from Kwada village, according to a member of a group that has had some successes in repelling attacks.

“They killed dozens of people and burned houses after attacking worshippers,” survivor Mallam Yahi said from Chibok town, where he escaped to. Chibok is the town in northeast Borno state from which more than 200 girls were abducted in April. Officials say 219 girls remain captive. Kwada is six miles and Kautikari four miles away.

Some of the church buildings destroyed included the Protestant Church of Christ in Nigeria, the Pentecostal Deeper Life Bible Church and Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa, which is Hausa for Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. It is believed that members of Boko Haram are responsible for the attacks. Boko Haram extremists are demanding the release of detained fighters in return for the kidnapped girls.

Nigerian security forces are struggling to contain a campaign of violence by Boko Haram, which is fighting to impose Islamic law on Africa’s most populous nation. Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan (seen above with Pope) has said Boko Haram is part of al-Qaeda and poses a threat to countries throughout the region

President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday condemned other recent attacks—Friday’s bombing of a hotel that local reports identified as a brothel in Bauchi state, also in the northeast, and sectarian killings of sedentary farmers who are mainly Christian by alleged Fulani Muslim herders in northern Kaduna state.

“The president commiserates with all the families who lost loved ones in the heinous attacks and extends his heartfelt sympathies to all those who suffered injuries or lost their properties during the wanton assaults on Bauchi and Kaduna States,” a statement said.

Bauchi has links with St Andrews and Edinburgh Archdiocese. In 1962, Archbishop Gordon Gray met Bishop Reddington of Jos at the Second Vatican Council in Rome. They discussed the needs of the Diocese of Jos which included the Province of Bauchi.

This is a large area that had been unable to develop due to lack of priests and resources.
In January 1964, after due consultation with the Cathedral Chapter and Priests of the Archdiocese and with the encouragement of Pope Paul VI, Bauchi Province was welcomed into the care of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

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