Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned the killing of scores of farmers and villagers in northeast Nigeria by suspected Islamist militants as a “terroristic massacre” that offended the name of God.
Francis spoke of Saturday’s attack during his weekly general audience, held virtually from his library in the Vatican because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want to assure my prayers for Nigeria, which, unfortunately, once again has been bloodied by a terroristic massacre,’’ the pope said.
More than 30 of the victims were beheaded in the attack, which began on Saturday morning in the village of Zabarmari, and the United Nations (UN) estimated that at least 110 people were killed across the Jere Local Government Area of Borno State.
“May God welcome them into his peace and comfort their families, and may He convert the hearts of those who commit such horrors, which gravely offend His name,’’ Francis said.
Similar massacres have been carried out in the past by Boko Haram or the Islamic State West Africa Province, which are both active in the area, where Islamic militants have killed at least 30,000 people.