News / Africa

Pope Benedict Denounces Christmas Attacks in Nigeria

Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing as he leaves after celebrating Christmas Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, December 24, 2011.
Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing as he leaves after celebrating Christmas Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, December 24, 2011.

Pope Benedict has condemned the Christmas day attacks at churches in Nigeria, calling them an absurd gesture. Militants of the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram have claimed responsibility for the bombs. 

For the second consecutive year, the extremist group Boko Haram has staged Christmastime attacks at Christian houses of worship in Nigeria. The group claimed responsibility for three church bombings on Sunday, Christmas Day.

Security forces in Nigeria also blamed the group for two other explosions in the north of the country.

Speaking from his study window overlooking Saint Peter’s Square on Monday, Pope Benedict condemned the bombings that killed dozens of people.

The pope said he learned with deep sadness of the attacks, which again this year, on the day Jesus was born, have brought mourning and pain in some churches of Nigeria. The pope expressed his closeness to the Christian community and to all those affected by this absurd gesture.

St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madala, a satellite town about 40 kilometers from the center of the capital, Abuja, was packed when the first blast exploded just outside after Christmas Mass.   

A few hours later, blasts were reported at the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church in the central, ethnically and religiously mixed town of Jos, and at a church in Gadaka in the northern state of Yobe.

The pope invited everyone to pray for the victims.

He said violence is a path that only leads to pain, destruction and death. He said respect, reconciliation and love are the only path to peace.

The White House also condemned the violence and tragic loss of life. And United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke out against the attacks and expressed his condolences to the people of Nigeria and to the bereaved families.   

Fear is growing in Nigeria that Boko Haram is trying to ignite a sectarian civil war in a country split evenly between Christians and Muslims. The two groups co-exist for the most part in peace, but Jos in particular has suffered through bouts of inter-religious violence that have killed thousands of people.

Boko Haram aims to impose Sharia law across Africa’s most populous country. Authorities blame the group for shootings and bombings that have killed hundreds of Nigerians this year, mostly in the country's northeast.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid