Pope Francis has lamented the killings and worsening insecurity in Plateau state.
On Christmas Eve, over 150 persons were killed in attacks by gunmen on communities in Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi LGAs of the north-central state.
Reacting to the incidents in a tweet on New Year’s Eve, Pope Francis asked global citizens to join him in prayers “for the victims of the severe violence”.
“May God free Nigeria from these horrors!” he added.
“Let us also pray for those who lost their lives in the explosion of a tanker truck in Liberia.”
Meanwhile, the Plateau state government has declared one week of mourning.
Declaring the days of mourning on Monday, in a New Year statewide broadcast, Governor Caleb Mutfwang said the flag will also be flying at half mast during the mourning period.
“Let me use this medium again to commiserate with my dear Plateau people on these monumental killings, especially the affected communities and the families of the deceased. My heart goes out to you and be assured that my family, the entire government and I deeply share in your grief.
“We will not rest on our oars but will tirelessly collaborate with the federal government to bring an end to these tragedies and bring succour to affected persons and communities.
“As a mark of honour for the memory of the deceased, I wish to declare a week of mourning from January 1st, to January 8th, 2024. During this period of mourning, flags will fly at half-mast.
“I urge all citizens to use these days for intense prayers to seek the intervention of the Almighty God in defending our territories and against wicked men that have risen against us,” he said.
He said it is gratifying that despite the onslaughts, the people’s spirits are not broken, adding that their resolve to defend the land and prosper therein has remained unshakeable.