Attack was satanic: congregation and priests killed at Mass

In an attack described as satanic, two priests are among the dead after gunmen attacked a Catholic church in Nigeria.

The exact number of dead and wounded is not clear. Between 15 and 19 people are said to have died while numerous others were shot.

The Ayar-Mbalom community is located in Nigeria’s “Middle Belt” where the Muslim north meets the Christian south.

Muslim Fulani herdsmen are suspected of being responsible for the attack.

Over the past few years, the herdsmen have mostly attacked Christian farmers. There are both religious and ethnic undertones to the violence.

In a recent Facebook post one of the dead priests, Fr Joseph Gor, wrote: “Living in fear. The fulani herdsmen are still around us in Mbalom. They refuse to go. They still go grazing around us. No weapons to depend on ourselves.”

Father Moses Iorapuu, the Director of Communications for the Diocese of Makurdi, said the herdsmen attacked “in their classic style,” burning down homes, destroying food, and killing people.

“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” he said.

Over 100 people have been killed by Fulani herdsmen since the beginning of the year.

Iorapuu said in a statement given to the press that “It has been the goal of the jihadists to conquer Benue and Tiv people who resisted their advance into the middle-belt since 1804.”

The priest accused the rest of the country of having little sympathy for the Benue people, and expressed his fears that the violence will cause thousands of people in the state to be displaced.

He also noted the good the local Catholic Church has been doing in the area.

“The diocese has been active in providing relief materials including education and skills-acquisition lessons,” Iorapuu said.

“To go for the priests means total destruction of everything we stand for and believe in!”










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