France Aims To Ease Religious Fears After Church Attack

President Francois Hollande sought Wednesday to head off divisions between France’s religious communities after the jihadist-claimed murder of a Catholic priest in his church, as calls mounted for tougher security measures.

Hollande gathered top religious leaders at his Elysee Palace offices, as a violence-weary France struggled to come to terms with the latest attack, just two weeks after the Bastille Day truck massacre that killed 84 people.

France’s large Catholic community was in shock after two men stormed into a church in the northern town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during morning mass and cut the 86-year-old priest’s throat at the altar.

One of the two attackers was identified as French jihadist Adel Kermiche, who was awaiting trial on terror charges and had been fitted with an electronic tag.

“We are stunned because we did not know it was dangerous to be a priest these days in France,” said Pierre Amar, a priest from Versailles near Paris.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls has warned that the goal of the attack, claimed by Islamic State jihadists, was to “set the French people against each other, attack religion in order to start a war of religions”.

Following the meeting with Hollande, the head of France’s Muslim community — the largest in Europe — urged stepped-up security at places of worship.

“We deeply desire that our places of worship are the subject of greater (security) focus, a sustained focus,” said Dalil Boubakeur.

In the name of French Muslims, he voiced his “deep grief” at the attack which he described as a “blasphemous sacrilege which goes against all the teachings of our religion”.

Credit: Guardian

PDP Fears Alleged Plans To Destabilise Ekiti

The Ekiti State Chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has raised alarm at alleged plans by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to destabilise the region by burning some petrol stations. It is alleged the APC is planning to commit the crime before the end of the week.

Jackson Adebayo, State Publicity Secretary of PDP, alleged such plans were hatched in a meeting of the leaderships of the APC, which lasted into the early hours of Tuesday.

The PDP spokesman said the meeting was held at the house of one of the leaders of the APC in Ajilosun area of Ado Ekiti.

He maintained that the decision of the APC to kick start the agenda to destabilize the state was to prevent the state government under the leadership of Ayo Fayose from settling down so that he would not be able to commence the development plans he had for Ekiti.

Adebayo noted some of the hoodlums that were assigned carry out the act were already monitoring the state. “We want to, in this respect call for vigilance in the part of petrol dealers in order not to fall victim while warning some of them who might conspire with the APC to commit this crime to stop forthwith because we in PDP will do everything possible to expose them,” Adebayo said.

“We also call on all the security agencies to come to the aids of the people of the state in order to avoid the destructive agenda being orchestrated by the leaderships of APC,” he added.

There have been tensions in the state where some APC legislators are challenging the election of Fayose last year, citing alleged vote rigging.

Comment could not be obtained from the party.

Credit: CAJ News