Plateau massacre: May God save Nigeria from horrors –Pope

Pope Francis has prayed for Nigerians and thousands of lives across the worlds that were shattered by violence and war in 2023.

Pope Francis has prayed for Nigerians and thousands of lives across the worlds that were shattered by violence and war in 2023.

Speaking on violence across the globe yesterday, Pope Francis reflected on the killings that took place in Plateau State on Christmas Eve.

He said: “Sadly, the celebration of Christmas in Nigeria was marked by serious violence in Plateau State, with many victims. I pray for them and their families: May God deliver Nigeria from these horrors.”

The cleric made the appeal following his sad reflection on 2023, which was blighted by violence, death, destruction and displacement. He recalled the sad Christmas celebration in Nigeria’s Plateau State, where no fewer than people were killed, and scores injured on Christmas Eve in communal violence.

On Christmas eve, suspected armed bandits carried out multiple coordinated bloody attacks simultaneously at odd hours of the night, killing no fewer than 150 people in 15 communities of Bokkos and Barkin Ladi Local Government Areas of Plateau State. No fewer than eight vehicles were burnt in the process.

Twelve villages in Bokkos LGA were attacked: Ndun, Ngyong, Murfet, Makundary, Tamiso, Chiang, Tahore, Gawarba, Dares, Meyenga, Darwat and Butura Kampani. Three villages in Barkin-Ladi LGA, namely: NTV, Hurum and Darawat, were also attacked.

Since the Christmas Eve massacre, other attacks on communities have been carried out by yet to be arrested gunmen. Yesterday, the state governor, Caleb Mutfwang, said the latest series of attacks in the state were cases of terrorism and not farmer-herder clashes.

In his new year message, Mutfwang described the recent attacks on communities in Bokkos and Barkin Ladi local government area of the state as Christmas genocide.

He said: “I welcome you to 2024, our year of hope in the midst of conflict, our year of deliverance, restoration and progress.

“While it is true that we ended the year 2023 on a sad note because of the many precious lives we lost, including but not limited to over 400 between April and June 2023 as well as the over 160 in the recent Christmas genocide.

The Vatican News reports that Pope Francis, after the Angelus prayer on Sunday, December 31, 2023, appealed to those who, according to him, have a “stake” in armed conflicts to “listen to the voice of their conscience”.

The Pope was quoted as saying, “At the end of the year, let us have the courage to ask ourselves: “How many lives have been shattered by armed conflict? How many deaths? And how much destruction, how much suffering… how much poverty!”

Pope’s thoughts and assurances of closeness and prayer also went to “those who lost their lives in the fuel truck explosion in Liberia,” where 52 people died after a fuel tanker crashed and exploded on Tuesday near the capital, Monrovia. Many injured people remain in hospital in critical condition.

He also prayed for those suffering from wars and called for prayers for “the tormented Ukrainian people, the Palestinian and Israeli people, the Sudanese people and many others. And let us not forget the martyred Rohingya,” he added.

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