2 priests, 20 others killed in Ebonyi, Benue attacks

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Suspected herders Monday evening killed about 18 natives of Egedegede, Obegu and Amuzu communities in Ishieleu North Development Centre, Ishielu local government area of Ebonyi state.

The suspected herders were said to have invaded the communities from Enugu axis.

Though the actual number of casualtieswere yet to be known, a resident of the community, who spoke under anonymity said 18 persons were killed while another resident said only 10 were killed.

“We are mourning; we are in serious mourning since the late hours of Monday. Herdsmen invaded our communities and massacred our people. As we speak, 18 persons were slaughtered like animals. They macheted many of our people, burnt vehicles, motorcycles and looted our properties,” the resident said.

He further said that a priest with the Methodist Church was among those killed and his car was burnt to ashes.

Chairman of Ishielu local government area, Hon. Sunday Eze and Commissioner for Business Development in the state, Dr. Stephen Odo, who hails from the local government led a team of security agents to the communities and condoled the families of those killed in the invasion.

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Loveth Odah, confirmed the incident.

“The Commissioner of Police delegated a team of Policemen for on the spot assessment because of peace talks going on in the town. So, the Commissioner of Police delegated them; Deputy Commissioner of Police Operations and others went for on the spot assessment to enable us get the detail of the report. So, they are yet to come back.

“We are still waiting for our men to come back to tell us their findings. I am already preparing a press release on the incident but their report too will assist us in giving you detail information about it”, she said.

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In similar occurrence, gunmen Tuesday morning attacked and killed a Catholic priest and three other parishioners at St. Paul’s Catholic Church Mbatyula, Ayetwar in Kastina-Ala local government area of Benue state.

Blueprint learnt that the heavily armed gunmen had invaded the church after mass, and short the priest dead.

A resident, who pleaded anonymity, said when the assailant came, they demanded to see the Senior Parish priest from the assistant who had just finished mass and was sitting outside the parish house, but when they discovered he was not in, they shot the priest dead and three others who were in the church.

He noted that the assailants also burnt down houses within the area, a situation which sent fears into the residents some of who ran into the bush for safety.

Chairman of Katsina-Ala local government area, Alfred Atera, who confirmed the incident through a text message said, “On 30th March 2021, at about 7-8am unknown gunmen came and burnt a village called Agu Centre in Mbatyula /Mberev council ward in Katsina-Ala and killed Rev Fr Ferdinand Fanen Ngugban and three others.

“The names of the other three victims are Mfave Tumachihi, Mbangohor Tsebo and Orlukaa Ulu.”

Also spokesperson Benue state Police Command, DSP Catherine Sewuese Anene confirmed the attack, noting that a priest and three others were killed.

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