February 9, 2015

ROME – A Nigerian Catholic bishop has called for Western military intervention to stop the violent rampage of the Boko Haram terrorist organization.

The Muslim group's increasingly deadly assaults and expanded recruitment from countries across North Africa mean "a concerted military campaign is needed by the West to crush Boko Haram," said Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri, capital of the troubled Borno state.

"The West should bring in security – land forces – to contain and beat back Boko Haram," he said in an interview Jan. 19 with the charity Aid to the Church in Need.

Boko Haram wants to overthrow the Nigerian government and create an Islamic state.

More than 11,000 people have died since Boko Haram launched an insurgency in 2009, engaging in a campaign of terror, mass killings and abductions, carrying out suicide bombings, burning villages and forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee.

As many as 2,000 people may have been killed when militants captured Baga in early January.

Doeme said that of the 125,000 Catholics in his diocese, almost 70,000 have fled their homes and about 1,000 have been killed.

In his diocese, Boko Haram militants have destroyed more than 50 churches and chapels.