West Africa: Catholics want action against terrorists


Catholic Church leaders from West Africa have condemned terrorist attacks in the region and urged governments to act decisively to end the scourge.

The 120 bishops, cardinals and archbishops made the call in a recent communique after a seven-day conference in Accra, Ghana whose theme was: ‘The new evangelisation and specific challenges for the church, family of God in West Africa: Reconciliation, Development and Family Life’

Their concerns followed a spate of terrorist attacks in Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Cameroun and Chad that left thousands of people dead. Bishop Anthony Fallah Borwah of Liberia, who read the communiqué, said the clergymen were concerned about the level of intolerance.

The bishops urged African governments to protect gains made on the road map towards peaceful co-existence for all – irrespective of religion or race, and step up efforts to crack the whip on terrorist groups.

According to a report tracking terrorist attacks globally, Boko Haram, the militant group that has tortured Nigeria and its neighbors for years, has been responsible for over 6,664 deaths, more than any other terrorist group in the world, including the Islamic State, which killed 6,073 people in 2014.

The bishops also encouraged politicians from across the continent to ease political tension in their countries triggered by manipulation of constitutional and electoral process.

African governments were reminded to be mindful of the effects of bad governance, corruption, social injustice and failure to respect religious freedom.

“In the spirit of the year of mercy and of reconciliation, we urge them to commit act of appeasement and clemency,” the communiqué read in part.



Photo: Andrew Medichini/AP/SIPA