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Boko Haram

Nigerian Christians may back a Muslim candidate in upcoming presidential elections

Under the shadow of Boko Haram violence, Nigerians head to the polls Saturday to elect a president and a deputy in a vote observers say is critical for the country's stability and economic progress. Many Christians in Nigeria's north are backing a Muslim candidate to lead their country away from the brink of violence and chaos.

Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim from the north and the leader of the All Progressives Congress party, is challenging the leadership of incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the south who heads the ruling People's Democratic Party.

Nigerian bishops visit refugees in Cameroon who fled Boko Haram

A delegation representing Catholic organizations in Nigeria offered words of comfort and pledged help for Nigerian refugees who fled to neighboring Cameroon because of a violent insurgency.

Led by Bishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji of Umuahia, chairman of Caritas Nigeria, the fact-finding delegation visited Minawao Camp in Maroua, Cameroon, in mid-March to meet with some of the estimated 36,000 Nigerians who have sought safety in recent weeks.

The visit was arranged after the Cameroonian bishops' conference approached the Nigerian bishops about the plight of the refugees.

Nigerian bishop calls for Western intervention to stop Boko Haram

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Underlining the failure of the Nigerian government to stop the violent rampage of Boko Haram, a Catholic bishop has called for Western military intervention.

The Muslim militant group's increasingly deadly assaults and expanded recruitment from countries across North Africa mean "a concerted military campaign is needed by the West to crush Boko Haram," said Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri, capital of the troubled Borno state.

Negotiations with Boko Haram a farce, says Catholic priest

While the Nigerian government negotiates with the Islamic militant group Boko Haram for the release of 200 abducted schoolgirls, some church leaders in the country's conflict-ridden north are expressing doubts about any impending resolution.

Nearly two weeks ago, the government announced a cease-fire with the militants. It set Oct. 24 as the date for the girls' release, but that failed to happen.

After kidnapping schoolgirls, Boko Haram takes aim at churches in northeast Nigeria

Five months after Boko Haram abducted more than 200 girls in Nigeria's Borno State, the Islamic extremist group has begun occupying churches in the country's northeastern region, church officials there said.

The militant group, which church leaders and analysts view as an African variation of the Islamic State, is also beheading men, forcing Christian women to convert to Islam and taking them as wives, officials said.

Bishops in Cameroon demand release of Canadian nun, Italian priests

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The Catholic bishops' conference of Cameroon has demanded the release of two Italian priests and a Canadian nun, a month after they were kidnapped by suspected Nigerian Islamists.

The bishops of Cameroon "strongly condemn these inadmissible attacks from extremist groups on church officials and all acts of violence which pose a threat to the dignity of the human person," the bishops said in a statement Monday signed by the conference president, Archbishop Samuel Kleda of Douala.

Nigerian church condemns bombing that claimed at least 71 lives

The Catholic church in Nigeria condemned the morning rush-hour bombing of a bus station near the capital of Abuja that killed at least 71 people and injured dozens more Monday.

"The killing of innocent Nigerians once again makes us ask how many more innocent people must die before a solution is found to the brutality and insecurity of lives and property in our country," said Fr. Christian Anyanwu, national director of social communications for the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, the social development arm of the Nigerian bishops' conference.

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