Boko Haram victims to be greeted by Pope Francis

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, on 8 March, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has invited two Nigerian Christians to visit Italy. Maryamu Joseph (19), and Janada Marcus (22) are recent victims of the savagery of Boko Haram terrorists, which has been responsible for the death of 75,000 Nigerians over the past 13 years.

The two victims were taken in by the priests and specialists of the Trauma Center of Maiduguri, capital of the State of Borno, in north-eastern Nigeria. The center is managed by the local diocese and was built with the assistance of Aid to the Church in Need. At the facility, victims of extremist violence are treated by a team of professionals.

The aim of the “8 March, hear their cries” initiative, promoted by the Italian office of ACN, is to bring the dramatic testimony of these victims to the attention of Italian institutions and public opinion, considering these stories are rarely part of the public debate, which only aggravates the suffering of those who were subjected to violence by piling on a mortifying oblivion.

Maryamu Joseph and Janada Marcus will be greeted by Pope Francis at the end of the General Audience of Wednesday 8 March. The two women will also be received by top level political personalities.

On 9 and 10 March, Maryamu and Janada will be received in audience by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and several members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.

The testimonies of Maria Joseph and Janada Marcus can be read in a document prepared by ACN with a collection of 26 first-hand witnesses and testimonies of religious persecution, including victims of Boko Haram, Fulani herder attacks, kidnappings and attacks on churches, such as the tragic Pentecost Sunday massacre which occurred last year. The document “Nigeria: a bleeding wound” can be requested, free of charge, from: press@acn-intl.org

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