World Council of Churches condemns violence in Nigeria
Aug 4, 2009, 15:48 GMT
Geneva - The World Council of Churches (WCC) on Tuesday urged Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua to 'ensure the safety of all citizens' and to see that those responsible for the recent bloody violence be brought to justice.
An estimated 600-800 people are reported to have died in the clashes over several days between the military and followers of an Islamic sect in the town of Maiduguri and other northern Nigerian districts.
Yar'Adua, himself a Muslim from the north, authorized the army to restore order after the Boko Haram sect launched a series of attacks on police stations last week.
In letters to President Umaru Yar'Adua and the Christian Association of Nigeria, the general secretary of the Geneva-based WCC, Samuel Kobia condemned the violence, which was 'rooted in politics rather than religion,' the council said in a statement.
Kobia also noted that more than 50 Christians, were among the dead and that at least 13 churches were destroyed. He added that 'inter- communal violence has already claimed the lives of more than 12,000 Nigerians during the past decade.'
Violence and insecurity in Nigeria was being fuelled by, among other factors, widespread poverty, corruption, poor governance, political instability and abuses by security forces, according to the WCC.
The Boko Haram sect, which is sometimes called the Nigerian Taliban and was formed in 2002, seeks to impose sharia, or Islamic law, across the whole of Nigeria and is also opposed to Western education.