AFRICA/NIGERIA – 73 school pupils kidnapped; the Bishops: “Too many kidnappings of children. We risk a traumatized generation of young people”
Abuja (Agenzia Fides) – “The abductions of school children present us with the prospects of a traumatized generation of young people”. The words of the Bishops of Nigeria resound as a grave warning after the kidnapping, yesterday September 1st, of 73 pupils from the day secondary school in the village of Kaya, in the State of Zamfara in the north-west of the Country.
The news of yet another kidnapping comes a few days after the release of three other groups of hostages who were kidnapped in the federal State of Niger in northern Nigeria in May, apparently after the payment of a ransom. Since December, more than 1,000 students have been kidnapped from schools in northern Nigeria.
An intolerable situation according to the Bishops, who in the declaration published at the end of their second plenary meeting, denounce how in Nigeria “life has never been so cheap”. In addition to the scourge of the kidnappings of students and adults, including members of the clergy, the Bishops underline the widespread violence on the territory of the Nigerian federation. “Regrettably, except for the civil war, our nation has never witnessed the kind of widespread evil, wanton destruction and murderous bloodletting”. “Deaths in the hands of kidnappers, killer herdsmen, bandits, terrorist groups have made Nigeria one of the most terrorized countries in the world”, say the Bishops, who are calling upon the government to “take full responsibility for the present culture of violence”. Addressing the Catholic faithful, the Bishops underline that “as Christians, we are called to constantly hope in God who never fails. We, therefore, call on Nigerians to hope for a better Nigeria knowing full well that without hope we as a people cannot move forward”. “May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of all consolation and Queen of Nigeria continue to intercede for our country”, they conclude. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 2/9/2021)
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