Bishop looks forward to the end of ‘Boko Haram’s madness’
"Hopefully this is really the beginning of the end of Boko Haram," says Nigeria’s Bishop of Maiduguri Diocese, Oliver Dashe Doeme. The Bishop said this about the current situation in Nigeria, where in recent weeks the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, appears to have suffered serious setbacks at the hands of Nigerian, Chadian and Cameroonian military forces. Bishop Doeme was speaking to representatives of “Aid to the Church in Need.”
"Extremists continue to attack because the military have not been able to hit all the strongholds of Boko Haram,” says Bishop Doeme, “and I am not surprised that Boko Haram is still attacking new areas."
The Bishop, however, speaks of several areas recaptured by the army. He hopes that the newly elected Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari who from 1983 to 1985 held the position of President of the Supreme Military Council, will have more success than his predecessor. "Buhari has solid experience in the military and this will certainly have positive effects in the fight against terrorists. Fighting Boko Haram is one of the priorities of the new government and we hope we can finally put an end to this madness, " the Bishop said.
Following the re-conquest of areas once in the hands of Boko Haram, the first refugees and some Internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been able to finally return home. Bishop Doeme has been visiting several parishes in his diocese to give comfort to the faithful just returned.
The violence of Boko Haram has seriously affected the Diocese of Maiduguri. The death and destruction at the hands of Boko Haram are too ghastly to contemplate: Thousands of Christians and some Moslems, among them many Catholics, killed by Boko Haram; 350 Catholic churches destroyed; many priests and religious women displaced from their rectories and convents respectively. Also destroyed are three of the four Catholic schools in the diocese.
Despite the terrible suffering, Bishop Doeme invites the faithful not to give in to the desire for revenge. "The crimes committed by Boko Haram are the work of the devil. Only God can free us. He will fight this war and end the violence," Bishop Doeme said.