-- ZENIT.org News Agency
Church Bombings Have Political Dimension, Says Prelate
Urges Nigerian Government to Do More for Safety and Underlying Causes of Conflict
ROME, AUG. 7, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Another church was attacked Monday in Nigeria, this time resulting in the deaths of at least 19 people, including the pastor.
Vatican Radio reported the incident, as well as reflections from the archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan.
Archbishop Onaiyekan pointed out that this attack was unusual in that it came on a Monday; previous attacks on churches have been carried out on Sundays during worship services.
The prelate also noted that the attack was against a Pentecostal church in the middle of Nigeria, not in the far north of the country.
Archbishop Onaiyekan called on the Islamic community to help identify the gunmen, as the town where the attack took place, Okene, is predominantly Muslim.
"It is not possible that we religious leaders should go and buy arms or train soldiers to protect us," he told Vatican Radio. "We have to rely on the state to protect us, and to do its duty. The Nigerian state has been trying, but not enough."
Archbishop Onaiyekan also emphasized that the conflicts underlying this attack are not predominantly religious, despite the recent series of attacks on Christian churches.
"This matter is not a matter of religion alone, even though it has a religious dimension," he said. "There is also the political dimension, people who are engaged in a political agenda. But it is a political agenda that they find it easy to camouflage in religious terms. This political dimension needs to be properly and clearly addressed, this time also by the government."
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