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NIGERIA/ Father Zerai: Boko Haram hates Christians because they educate

In this interview Fr. MUSSIE ZERAI explains the strategy of the kidnappings by Boko Haram in Nigeria, which aims to subdue the population by striking schools, and how the West can respond

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For the first time, the Islamic militants of Boko Haram have also kidnapped boys, not only girls as they have done up until now. In recent days in fact, in Nigeria there has been an escalation of kidnappings: 60 girls and now 31 boys, including very young children. All this after the well-known case of 200 girls abducted from their school dormitories who have not been heard from since. What is going on?

There was talk of girls being sold as brides for Muslims, then the exchange of hostages, and now they are kidnapping more kids. According to Father Mussie Zerai, president of the Agency of Cooperation for Development Habeshia, contacted by ilsussidiario.net, the purpose of the fundamentalists is clear: “They kidnap young people, students, whether male or female, because they want to strike the school, education. We know well that study is synonymous with freedom, and those who kidnap them want to keep the people in ignorance in order to enslave them.”

For the first time, boys have also been kidnapped. What is the reason in your opinion?

The reason is clear. Boko Haram wants to hit the school and the reason for doing this is tragically intelligent. To keep the population subdued they must be ignorant. Therefore if they strike the schools, they strike those who attend the schools for study, with the purpose of obscuring the intellectual growth of the people.

A brilliantly evil lucidity

Of course, because they know that one who studies is free, and it is just to impede studying that they have done these abductions. They kidnap as many young people as possible and terrorize others to keep them from going to school. What is being done today in Nigeria is a true crime against humanity.

What is your opinion on what has been happening in Nigeria for some time now?

What has been happening is that groups of fanatics use religion for their own purposes and interests, political interests, for power and economic control of these areas, preying on the poor, the people, the young.

What do you think should be done to put an end to all this?

The African community must intervene in Nigeria to eradicate this problem, before they run rampant in other African nations.

Do you think that the Western countries, the European Union and the United States should play a greater role? Maybe intervene directly?

For the Western countries or the United States, to intervene is just what these terrorists would like, so that they could then accuse them of invasions, of killings, in short, what has always happened when Western countries have intervened, dragging them into a pool of diatribes that plays into their game of presenting themselves as victims. Instead, it is Africa that must intervene to do its job, to clean up the area. We cannot wait for Western intervention; Africa must learn to react and be able to defend its territory.

Boko Haram is linked to Al Qaeda. In recent weeks, we have seen a real fundamentalist offensive from Iraq across the Middle East and reaching to Nigeria. Is it possible to stop this?