Relatives cry as they mourn during a funeral service for 17 worshippers and two priests, who were allegedly killed by Fulani herdsmen, at Ayati-Ikpayongo in Gwer East district of Benue State, north-central Nigeria on May 22, 2018. Two Nigerian priests and 17 worshippers have been buried, nearly a month after an attack on their church, as Catholics took to the streets calling for an end to a spiral of violence. White coffins containing the bodies of the clergymen and the members of their congregation were laid to rest in central Benue state, which has been hit by a wave of deadly unrest. / AFP PHOTO
By Femi Bolaji, Jalingo
Gunmen suspected to be herdsmen in the early hours of Monday stormed Secret Heart Minor Seminary in Jalingo, capital of Taraba state to unleash mayhem and succeeded in shooting a priest.
The coordinated attack which occurred 1.00am on Monday also left several other valuables worth millions of naira destroyed by the herdsmen who invaded the Catholic seminary leading to the closure of the school for one week.
Narrating his ordeal to newsmen in Jalingo, the priest who sustained a gun shot injury, Rev. Fr Cornelius Koba said the attackers stormed the Seminary in their numbers and directed a student to show them his room where he was attacked.
He said “They came around 1:am and got a student whom they ordered to take them to my room. I came out and met them all armed numbering over five. As soon I came out one of them said see him, kill him but one of them objected.
“They struck me with their sticks and and when I fell down, one of them shot me in the leg and they left.
“They also shot and brew the windscreen of my car. One of them opened fire at my window and destroyed my television set and other properties.
“My offense is that I often ask them to stop invading our school for grazing and stop cutting down our trees to feed their cows”, he said.
Confirming the attack on the seminary to newsmen, the Police public relations Officer, Taraba state command ASP. David Missal said the police is aware of the incident and assured the command is on top of the situation.
Meanwhile, the Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Jalingo, Most Rev. Dr. Charles Hammawa Hammawa condemned the attack on Secret Heart Minor Seminary, Jalingo, describing the attack as regrettable.
Hammawa who spoke with dismay over the injury meted on the catholic priest urged government to be more serious in handling security issues in the country.
He said “It is regrettable that as a church, we are only modeling the children to be good citizens of the country, but we are now being attacked unprovoked.
“For the Fulani herdsmen to attack us in Jalingo, is an indication that our security situation in this country has become extremely bad. The primary responsibility of government is the protection of lives and property and we will continue to call on government to sit up”, he added.
The Bishop who was grateful that the attack did not claim any life explained that most students who ran into the bush for safety during the attack have all returned.
He stated that the seminary has been shut down for a week to enable students recover from the trauma of the unfortunate incident before continuing with their studies.
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