Catholic bishops in Nigeria are holding a holy hour of Eucharistic adoration in cathedrals on Sunday evening to pray for the release of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram Islamists, reports The Tablet.
Muslim and Christian women, including female members of the Knights of St Mulumba, have been demonstrating to draw attention to the plight of some 230 girls kidnapped from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok in Borno state, three weeks ago. Yesterday a further eight girls were reported to have been abducted from a nearby village and today another village in Borno state was reported to have been stormed, resulting in an unconfirmed number of deaths.
As the US, the UK and France said they were sending experts to help locate the girls, the Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama, said: 'We cannot get near to the evil forest where these people operate, not to talk of getting into neighbouring countries where they might have been taken.'
Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, expressed frustration at the Nigerian Government’s progress in rescuing the girls, telling Vatican Radio: 'We are all ashamed … Up until now we are hearing practically nothing concrete on the issue, I think almost every Nigerian is taken aback. We cannot explain what is happening.'
Fr John Bakeni, secretary of the Diocese of Maiduguri in Borno state, said he thought 80 per cent of the abducted girls were Christian. He said the militants had used the girls as human shields and sex objects before dividing them up to cross the border to the neighbouring Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
Photo: Demonstrators outside Nigerian embassy in Washington DC.
Sydney’s Nigerians feel their nation’s pain after kidnap of schoolgirls (The Daily Telegraph)