A Catholic priest is wounded during an attack on his parish in the Diocese of Niamey in the West African nation of Niger, where Catholic communities are increasingly under threat.
Missionaries in Niger said a group of unidentified persons attacked Dolbel Parish on Monday wounding Father Nicaise Avlouké.
The parish belongs to Niamey diocese and is located some 200 km from the capital city, in the Songhay-Serma area.
Missionary sources said they had been alerted to the possibility of an attack against the parish and in particular against Catholic priests. They pointed out that this event is yet another confirmation of the fact that the security situation on the border area with Burkina Faso continues to deteriorate.
New stage of terrorism in the Sahel
It came as the latest attack on a Catholic Church in Burkina Faso left six dead on Sunday.
“Security forces appear unprepared for this new stage of terrorism in the Sahel”, they said.
Meanwhile, there has still been no news regarding Father Pier Luigi Maccalli of the Society of African Missions, who was kidnapped in Niger on 17 September 2018.
The nation is still reeling from a spate of anti-Christian attacks in January 2015 during which 45 churches, as well as schools and orphanages, were attacked and set on fire in Niamey, Zinder and Goure.
These attacks were carried out in response to the Charlie Hebdo front-page cartoon of a weeping Muhammed, published the day after an Islamist attack that killed twelve people, including nine journalists in France.
Promoting interreligious dialogue and understanding
A Christian project to promote interreligious understanding and brotherhood, called “Together with Mary”, has since been implemented in the region. It foresees regular meetings that allow Christians of all denominations and Muslims to get together and learn about each other.
The meetings feature talks by Christian and Muslim leaders on the theme of interreligious dialogue as well as moments of prayer and discussion. However, organizers say, a lot of mistrust remains.