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Zuma condemns terror attacks on Christian communities

Zuma has sent out his condolences to the families of those killed in church attacks in Egypt and Nigeria.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – President Jacob Zuma has condemned terror attacks targeted at Christian communities following the bombing of a church in Egypt this weekend.

Zuma sent out his condolences to the families of those who died when a bomb exploded at a Cairo church.

At the same time, the president also sent his sympathies to the people of Nigeria who lost loved ones in a roof collapse at a place of worship at the weekend.

This weekend Africans were saddened after people in both Nigeria and Egypt died in tragedies while attending church services.

In Nigeria, over 100 people have been killed after the roof of the Reigners Bible Church collapsed on Saturday.

While in Egypt, 25 people were killed in a bomb blast in Cairo’s largest Coptic cathedral and wounded 49, many of them women and children attending Sunday mass, in the deadliest attack on Egypt’s Christian minority in years.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s Clayson Monyela says, “The South Africam government joined the international community in condemning the terrorist attacks which targeted the Christian community in Cairo. We’d like to convey our deepest condolences.”

The president has also reiterated his commitment to the international initiatives aimed at fighting terrorism.

NATIONAL OF MOURNING

The governor of Akwa Ibom state, south of Nigeria has declared two days of mourning in honour of the victims of the church collapse.

Also, police officials in the state have announced what appears to be the first official figure of the death toll from the church collapse.

Rescue operations at the site of the building collapse appear to have been concluded.

While independent sources and eyewitness put the number of those killed in the incident to over a hundred the police say such figures were outrageous.

The governor of the state, Emmanuel Udom, who himself, escaped narrowly when the roof of the building caved in, has indicated that those responsible for the building collapse will be prosecuted.

US CONDEMN THE ATTACK

The attack comes as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi fights battles on several fronts. His economic reforms have angered the poor, a bloody crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood has seen thousands jailed, whilst an insurgency rages in Northern Sinai, led by the Egyptian branch of Islamic State.

The militant group has also carried out deadly attacks in Cairo and has urged its supporters to launch attacks around the world in recent weeks as it goes on the defensive in its Iraqi and Syrian strongholds.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but exiled Brotherhood officials and home-grown militant groups condemned the attack. Islamic State supporters celebrated on social media.

“God bless the person who did this blessed act,” wrote one supporter on Telegram.

The explosion took place in a chapel, which adjoins St Mark’s, Cairo’s main cathedral and the seat of Coptic Pope Tawadros II, where security is normally tight.

The United States said it “will continue to work with its partners to defeat such terrorist acts” and that it was committed to Egypt’s security, according to a White House statement on Sunday.

The UN Security Council urged “all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with all relevant authorities” to hold those responsible accountable.

Additional information by Reuters

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)