‘Life here is cheaper than salt’ says Bishop under attack from Boko Haram

Campaigners from Bring Back Our Girls march during a rally calling for the release of the Chibok schoolgirls. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Bishop Oliver Doeme, who leads the Catholic Maiduguri diocese in Nigeria, one of the most hard-hit by the radical Islamist group Boko Haram, has told of victims hiding in caves, being forced to convert to Islam and facing starvation.

“We use to think that salt is the cheapest commodity in the market, well, life is cheaper now, especially in the Northeastern part of Nigeria,” Bishop Doeme of Maiduguri wrote in a report to charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), cited by the Catholic News Agency.

Maiduguri is in Borno State, where there is a declared ‘state of emergency’ due to the violence from Boko Haram. ACN has just approved a £35,000 donation to refugees in the area.

“The last one month has seen the intensification and aggressive devastation of the Boko Haram activities in Northern, Central and Southern part of the Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri,” Bishop Doeme said. “Many of our people are being forced out of their ancestral homes, villages and towns. Right now, thousands are living in caves on the mountains, some in the forest; the few who were able to escape are being absorbed by friends and relatives in Maiduguri, Mubi and Yola. Thousands have managed to escape into the Cameroons and are living under very difficult conditions of lack of food, shelter and medication”…