Suspected herdsmen have killed 17 people in an early morning attack on a Catholic Church in Benue State, officials said on Tuesday.
The attack occurred in Ayar-Mbalom, a community in Gwer East Local Government Area.
Terver Akase, a spokesperson to Governor Samuel Ortom, told said the attackers also burnt 50 houses and sacked the entire community.
The name of the church is St. Ignatius’ Catholic Church. The murdered Catholic priests are Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, both reverend fathers.
The attack comes barely four days after the murder of 10 persons by herdsmen in Guma Local Government Area, which has been one of the major scenes of carnage by suspects herdsmen since January 1.
It also comes barely a few days after Nigerian soldiers stormed Naka town in Gwer West Local Government Area of the state and set dozens of houses on fire. The soldiers said hoodlums in the community killed one of their colleagues. At least one man was burnt to death in the reprisal attack.
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.
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