Police confirm 16 killed in Benue Catholic Church attack; it’s satanic, says Buhari
The Police Command in Benue has confirmed the killing of 16 people, including two Catholic priests, in fresh attacks on Mbalon community in Gwer Local Government Area.
Mr Owoseni Fatai, its commissioner, told newsmen on Tuesday in Makurdi that unknown gunmen, suspected to be herdsmen, opened fire on Catholic worshipers during morning Mass on Tuesday.
“The worshipers were attacked around 5 a.m. during morning Mass.
“Other victims were killed during a burial ceremony later in the day,” he said.
Fatai, who described the attacks as “unfortunate”, vowed to fish out the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
He said that preliminary investigation had revealed that the herdsmen had stayed around the area for sometime before carrying out the attacks.
The commissioner said that more Police personnel had been deployed to the area to forestall further attacks.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the killings. The President, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina in Abuja on Tuesday, described the killings as “vile and satanic’’.
Buhari condoled with the government and people of Benue, Mbalom community, the Bishop, priests and members of the St Ignatius’ Catholic Church in the state.
“I extend my sincere condolences to the government and people of Benue State, the Mbalom community, and especially the Bishop, priests and members of the St Ignatius’ Catholic Church, whose premises was the unfortunate venue of the heinous killings by gunmen.
“This latest assault on innocent persons is particularly despicable. Violating a place of worship, killing priests and worshippers is not only vile, evil and satanic, it is clearly calculated to stoke up religious conflict and plunge our communities into endless bloodletting.’’
Buhari maintained that the country would not bow to the machinations of evildoers, and vowed that the assailants would be hunted down and made to pay for the sacrilege committed.