At least 19 people including two Catholic priests and parishioners were, on Tuesday, killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Ayar Mbalon village, Gwer East Local Government area of Benue State.
Suspected Fulani herdsmen have attacked Ayar Mbalom community in Gwer East Local Government Area killing two priests and 17 other church members.
According to reports, Fulani herdsmen attacked a Catholic Church, St. Ignatius’ Catholic Church, Ayar-Mbalom, and Parishioners who went for 5.30am Mass.
The two priests killed are, Rev. Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha.
The attack came barely four days after the murder of ten persons by herdsmen in Guma Local Government Area and the destruction of several houses by men suspected to be military personnel in Naka, Gwer West Local Government Area of the state.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi has confirmed the killing of two of its priests, Rev Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha.
A statement by its Director of Communications, Rev Fr Moses Iorapuu, said that the attacks were perpetrated by herdsmen who stormed the Mbalom community and killed the two priests during the morning mass at the church.
The Diocese expressed regret at the nonchalant attitude of the security agencies in containing the killings.
It said the herdsmen, who stormed the community, burnt down houses, destroyed crops and killed people.
The church, therefore, urged the relevant authorities to stop the killings in the Benue valley.
Iorapuu said the Diocese had been active in providing food and relief materials to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) since the onset of hostilities in the state and wondered why it could be marked as a target of attacks.
“The attacks on the priests is an attack on everything that we ever stood for and believed in.”
Meanwhile, concerted efforts to get reaction from the Benue Police Command failed as its Public Relations Officer, ASP Moses Yamu, was not forthcoming with remarks.
See photos of the two priests killed below;