The Director of Social Communications and Directorate of Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri, Borno State, Rev. Fr. Gideon Obasagie, has revealed that 109 members of the church were killed in the recent Boko Haram attacks in North-east region of the country.
Obasagie who was addressing journalists alongside various priests across the diocese consisting of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno States at Saint Peters Minor Seminary in Yola, said the dioceses also recorded 107 children and 27 women who were made orphans and widows respectively as result of the killings by the Islamic sect.
The director lamented the killings of their fellow Christians saying five of their members were also kidnapped during the attacks and were still missing.
He called on the federal government to take drastic steps to save Christians living in the three insurgency-ravaged states, alleging that Christians living in the areas would be extinct if something is not done.
While revealing their ordeal with insurgents when they struck his school in Chakawa, the Rector of St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary, Rev Father Alexander Miskita William, said when the insurgents came into the town they started firing shots, which aroused their suspicion leading to enquiries about what was actually happening in the town.
He said they were surprised to find out that the insurgents have launched attack on them despite the presence of the military detailed to protect lives and property in the area.
“We were told that members of the Boko Haram sect were on rampage as a result, we gathered the students as we have no alternative other than to move. So when we heard the chanting of ‘Allahu Akbar’ we immediately took the 240 students in the school to safety through the perimeter fence where they spent the night in the bush,” he said.
Willam alleged that the attack was planned to kill him as the insurgents kept asking of the leader of school as the operation lasted.
“There was a crippled man in the school who could not escape before the insurgents struck. When they met him, they asked him to take them to the priest but he told them that he was a stranger and does not know anybody fortunately that was his saving grace.
He said the insurgents later took two of the security guards who led them to the various places in the school to look for him but when they could not located anybody, they razed down the chapel, the rector’s house, staff quarters and all the four cars and four motorcycles in the school before killing the guards,” he said.
William also disclosed that so far about 90 students have been withdrawn by their parents from the school following the insurgents activities in the area that had persisted.
The Parish Priest of Saint Peter’s Parish Pulka, Reverend Father James John, also revealed that between Gwoza and Bama areas of Borno State, about 23 local churches have been razed down as Christians were forced to leave the areas which led 43 people to lose their houses.
John said while he travelled to Michika, the insurgents launched another attack on the area as they asked for his house severally.
“The leader of the insurgents, during the second attack, asked for my whereabouts as he prevented his men from burning any house until they came to my house.
“When they could not meet me, they vandalised the whole house breaking the pictures of Jesus Christ and other religious items in the house,” he said.
Reverend Jones added that so far, 17 members of his church have been killed while five were kidnapped and 43 houses were razed down. [ThisDay]