Breaking News: Fulani Herdsmen Kills 2 Catholic Priests, 17 Others In Benue
From Msughshima Andrew, Makurdi
Suspected Fulani herdsmen has attacked Ayar Mbalom community in Gwer East Local Government Area killing two priests and 17 other church members.
Sources from the village who pleaded not to be named said Fulani herdsmen, early hours of Tuesday morning, attacked a Catholic Church and Parishioners who went for 5.30am Mass.
The armed herdmen attacked St. Ignatius’ Catholic Church, Ayar-Mbalom, where an early morning mass was in progress and killed two priests, Rev. Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha and 17 Church members.
As at the time of writing this report, our reporter gathered that residents were still on the run while many of the villagers had sustained serious injuries while nearly 50 houses were reportedly burnt during the attack.
The attack comes barely four days after the murder of 10 persons by herdsmen in Guma local government area and the destruction of 300 houses by military personnel in Naka, Gwer West local government area of the state.
Confirming the attacks, Director of Communications Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, Fr. Moses Iorapuu, in a press statement said Rev.Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha have been confirmed dead in the deadly attack by herdsmen/Jihadists early today on Mbalom village and St. Ignatius Quasi Parish Ukpor-Mbalom.
He said the herdsmen in their classic style, burnt down homes, destroyed food items and killed at will.
“The police seem to know nothing of the attacks which have been going on in other villages within Benue State since the Anti Open Grazing Law came into effect last year.
“Many people are asking why the International community has remained silent over the massacre of Benue citizens?
According to him, “The answer is simple: It has been the goal of the Jihadists to conquer Benue and Tiv people who resisted their advance into the middle belt and the Eastern part of Nigeria since 1804, the people who rejected Islam and fought for the unification of Nigeria in the civil war of 1967 – 1970.
The people of Eastern Nigeria therefore have little sympathy for Benue people who fought on the side of Nigeria .
The Muslim North is enjoying a sweet revenge overshadowed by an insensitive regime.
There were over 170,000 internally displaced persons before the Naka invasion and surely with the current situation in Mbalom, Benue will be flooded with thousands more.
What cannot be said at this point is the consequences of the death of Missionaries in the silent killings that have been ignored by the government for over a year.
The Catholic Diocese of Makurdi , which is one of the largest Dioceses in Nigeria, has been active in providing relief materials including education and skills acquisition lessons.
“To go for the Priests means total destruction of everything we stand for and believe in, as a people”, Iorapuu said
The Benue State Police command were not handy to confirm the killings as neither the Commissioner, CP Fatai Owoseni nor his PPRO, ASP Moses Yamu could be reached as at press time.
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