Nigeria ‘needs same support as France’

A Nigerian archbishop called Monday for the same international support to tackle Boko Haram as France has received since it was hit by Islamist attacks last week.

“I see the very positive response of the French government tackling this issue of religious violence after the killing of their citizens,” said Ignatius Kaigama, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Jos in central Nigeria.

“We need that spirit to be spread around, not just when it happens in Europe, [but] when it happens in Nigeria, in Niger, Cameroon and many poor countries, that we mobilise our international resources to confront the people who bring such sadness to many families,” he told BBC World Service radio.

Kaigama was speaking after another bloody weekend for Nigeria in which three suicide bombers, including one thought to be as young as 10, killed at least 23 people in the restive northeast.

‘Searing conscience of the world’
His comments echoed those from Anthony Lake, who is the the head of the United Nations children’s fund, Unicef, who said on Sunday that harrowing reports from survivors of the a massive attack on Baga on January 3 and the use of a 10-year-old girl as a human bomb “should be searing the conscience of the world”.

“These images of recent days and all they imply for the future of Nigeria should galvanise effective action. For this cannot go on,” the Unicef executive director said.

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan, who has been criticised for his failure to end the insurgency, issued a statement condemning the Paris attacks but rarely comments on attacks in his own country.

As Nigeria was attacked again on Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people around the world took to the streets in solidarity with millions in France to protest against Islamist attacks that left 17 people dead in Paris last week.

More than 13 000 people have died in the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria since 2009, and hundreds of thousands more have been made homeless.

In the Baga attack, Boko Haram fighters are thought to have carried out the worst massacre in the six-year insurgency, razing the town and at least 16 surrounding settlements on the shores of Lake Chad.

There have been local claims of mass slaughter in Baga, but there has been no independent corroboration of the figures.

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