Extremists in northern Nigeria place bounty on priests

1 June 2000 (Newsroom) -- A Catholic leader in northern Nigeria claims that
Muslim extremists have placed a bounty on the head of all Catholic priests,
Catholic World News reported. Father Peter Yakubu, a spokesman for the
Diocese of Kaduna, said that 100,000 naira (about $1,000) is being offered
for each priest killed in Kaduna, the scene of recent sectarian violence.

Last week, 26-year-old Father Clement Ozi Bello was among more than 200
killed in fighting in Kaduna. Bello was dragged from his car by a mob, which
tied him up, gouged out his eyes, and then killed him, Yakubu said. Yakubu
noted that Bello was a convert from a Muslim family.

Meanwhile, the Anglican Media service in Sydney, Australia reported that the
Anglican Bishop of Jos, the Rt. Rev. Benjamin Kwashi, was attacked in last
week's Kaduna unrest. Anglican Media said the windows of the bishop's car
were smashed during the assault, though he was not seriously injured.

Anglican Media said that among the 2,000 people killed in sectarian violence
in Kaduna this year have been three parish priests, eight seminarians, 38
pastors, and 148 evangelists of various churches.

The riots forced the Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev. Harry Goodhew, to
leave Kaduna under armed police escort. Goodhew was in Kaduna to preach at a
synod for the diocese. He led Bible studies on the theme Christian-Muslim
dialogue: A necessity for the survival of Nigeria. "In the midst of this,
the riots began, and one was aware of the immense challenge they faced to
take on board our Lord's teaching about turning evil to good and patiently
suffering in the face of what is happening," Goodhew said. "And because
Nigeria is a proclaimed democracy, there is a responsibility for Christians
to make sure everyone is treated justly and fairly."

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