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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Nigerian bishop says Boko Haram needs fought in spiritual realm, too

The Catholic bishop of a diocese at the centre of the Boko Haram insurgency said the militants need to be fought on several levels.

“The battle against Boko Haram should not be limited to the physical realm, but it needs to be fought in the spiritual realm for it is a demonic attack,” Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri told reporters.

The bishop praised the current Nigerian government for its successes in the ongoing war against terrorism but urged it to end all violence in northeastern Nigeria, where there were still pockets of attacks and suicide bombings.

Maiduguri Diocese covers Borno and Yobe states and part of Adamawa state.

In mid-March, Borno Gov. Kashim Shettima said 100,000 people had been killed by Boko Haram militants in his state since the insurgency started in 2009. He also said 2.1 million people have become displaced within the state. He said more than 52,000 orphans were living on their own, and nearly 55,000 women had become widows. The governor said the figures were based on estimates from community leaders.

Picture: A Nigerian soldier walks near a building and vehicle destroyed by Boko Haram Islamic militants in 2015 after Nigerian troops recaptured Gwoza. (CNS photo/EPA).