Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Abp. Akinola Remains Silent Regarding the Massacre of Yelwa

Two weeks ago, we discussed an article written by Eliza Griswold that appeared in the Atlantic Monthly entitled "God's Country." It described the 2004 massacre in Yelwa, in which men attacked and killed over 600 people. Some of those men were identified as members of the Christian Association of Nigeria, of which Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola was President. The following quote is from the article:

...When asked if those wearing name tags that read “Christian Association of Nigeria” had been sent to the Muslim part of Yelwa, the archbishop grinned. “No comment,” he said...
We asked two question of the Archbishop:

What was his role in this massacre?

Did he send those men to attack Yelwa?

Since then, the only response has been a "rebuttal" by the Director of Communications for the Church of Nigeria, which included this line:

...Archbishop Akinola has not and does not encourage violence but continues to maintain peaceful cordial relationship with every peace loving Nigerian irrespective of tribe, creed or gender...
From that quote, Episcopal Life is reporting the following conclusion:

The Anglican Church in Nigeria has denied that its primate, Archbishop Peter Akinola, had an role in a 2004 massacre of Muslims in Yelwa, Nigeria...
I fail to see any such denial in the above statement. It appears to me to be a very nuanced response, which intentionally avoids addressing the question of Abp. Akinola's involvement in the 2004 massacre in Yelwa. His Director of Communications states that he has a "peaceful" relationship with "every peace loving Nigerian." Those against whom members of CAN were retaliating were obviously not "peace loving Nigerians."

Why is it so difficult for the Archbishop to answer the question clearly? Was he or was he not involved in the massacre of Yelwa?


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