A report from Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, says armed Fulani herdsmen this Monday morning attacked Sacred Heart Minor Seminary, shooting a priest and injuring another while two students were beaten up.
A Catholic priest reportedly sent the following SMS to the director of Caritas Nigeria, an agency of the Catholic Church, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey: “Please Frs, pray for us. Our minor seminary in Jalingo has just been attacked by the Fulani; some students are injured, some cars destroyed, two priests beaten and one shot on the leg. They are currently receiving treatment at FMC.”
A confirmation soon came, as the rector of the seminary, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Atsue, issued a press release “with permission from my Bishop, Most Rev. Charles Hammawa of Jalingo Diocese”. The statement:
I Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Atsue (the Rector) want to announce and inform Nigerians and the international community that our diocesan Sacred Heart Minor Seminary was attacked in the early hours of this morning 28/05/2018 at about 12:30am by sophisticated armed Fulani herdsmen (at least we heard their conversation).
They shot sporadically at the Rector’s residence, broke window glasses in the process, (littered live bullets were collected by police) and the windscreen of one of the vehicles belonging to one of the priests; they shot and injured one of the priests, Rev. Fr. Cornelius Kobah, on the leg, and beat up Fr. Stephen Bakari.
From their conversation we were able to understand that their grievance against us is that the security men in the Seminary have been challenging their decision to graze right inside the Seminary: around the classes, football field, laundry etc. They said even inside the church if they see grass their cows will graze.
Normalcy has temporarily been restored, thanks to the prompt response from the Nigerian Police, Army, Civil Defence and local vigilante.
All our students are complete, none is missing. Two of them who were showing them the way to the Father’s house suffered injuries from the sticks of the herdsmen. I had a meeting with the officials of the Parent-Teacher Association, PTA, and the bishop has equally approved one week break for the seminarians to enable them manage the trauma for a while and to show themselves to their parents that they were safe.
For now this is the situation. Let us continue to pray for and work for peace in Nigeria.
Two Catholic priests and 17 worshippers were murdered by armed herdsmen while they were attending Mass, a few weeks ago, in a village in Benue State. The Catholic faithful in Abuja and other dioceses in the country staged a peaceful protest during their burial last Tuesday.
Murders by herdsmen have become a regular occurrence in Nigeria. At the weekend they murdered over 30 people in Zamfara State. Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Kaduna, Taraba and other middle-belt states have been victims of killer herdsmen.