BY MUSDAPHA ILO
The Catholic Church has raised an alarm that Christians and churches have been the direct target of Boko Haram attacks and other activities in recent times in Adamawa State, a situation that has forced the closure of its churches in the area.
The church said that although members of the outlawed terrorist sect never discriminated between christians and muslims in their attacks before now, the former had been the target of the most recent attacks in Madagali, Adamawa State.
In a press statement by the director of Catholic Social Communication in charge of Maiduguri Diocese, Rev. Fr. Gideon Obasogie, the church said that Boko Haram insurgents have taken over the rectory of church in Madagali as well as the houses of most christians since last week’s attack on town.
“The whole town and the parish have been occupied by the terrorists. So many structures and items have been vandalised. Dozens have been killed and a lot of church structures have been burnt,” he said.
Worse still, the Catholic priest alleged that many christians have been forced to flee their homes because they were being tracked down and killed while their women were being forced into Islam and forcibly taken as wives.
“Christian men are caught and beheaded; the women are forced to become Muslim and are taken as wives to the terrorists. The houses of Christians that have fled are now occupied by the terrorists,” he alleged.
“Their cars are used by the terrorists. Some Muslim around identify Christian homes to be occupied and the Christians hiding were also identified and they are killed. Strict Sharia Law had been promulgated, as observed by a woman who luckily escaped the dead zone,” he further lamented.
Obasogie observed that Madagali is a local government on the borders of Borno and Adamawa states and the closest town to Gwoza (which has been taken over by Boko Haram militants for weeks) with a large number of Catholics and other Christian denominations with a good mix of Muslims.
The priest said that the situation “had truly gone out of control and urged the federal government to do something concrete to deal with the state of insecurity that has taken over the entire North eastern part of the country
He disclosed that the Catholic Church had been compelled to close down all its churches on all major roads between Maiduguri and towns Adamawa state because of the activities of terrorists.