1. Catechist amongst those killed in Benue attack

In Benue state, a catechist, along with his wife and five others, were killed in a series of attacks in Guma Local Government Area. The attacks, which happened in three places, took place in Tse-Ortom, Hirnyam and Semaka communities, and were all seemingly unprovoked. A local source confirmed that one of the victims was killed at Tse-Ortom, two in Semaka, and a further four, in Hirnyam. The attack in Hirnyam killed the catechist for St. Peters Catholic Church. He said “in their usual pattern, the herdsmen shot the victims in the three separate attacks on Friday and after killing them, they also used cutlasses to cut them like animals. Among the victims were a catechist, his wife, one other woman and four others.” Mr. Christopher Waker, security secretary of the local government council, confirmed the death of all seven, in the attacks. “Four persons died in the attack in Hirnyam: a catechist, Dominic Dajo, his wife and two others. In fact, he was in his house ironing his clothes to attend Mass, when he heard gunshots. He came out and was even telling someone that they, gunmen had killed two people already not knowing it was also going to be his own death next. While they were in the house, the wife rushed out and was killed. He attempted to run away but they also killed him. Again, one woman from Ortom village was killed and. Two persons were killed in Semaka village, making it seven.” The police public relations officer, Catherine Anene, has the police have yet to receive official details of the attacks. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2023/05/herders-kill-catechist-wife-5-others-in-ortoms-village-other-communities/



2. Police officers killed in Anambra attack

A police checkpoint in Anambra state was attacked by bandits, killing three police officers. The attack, which happened along the UmunzeIhite Road in Orumba South Local government area, occurred when the gunmen invaded the checkpoint in large numbers and immediately opened fire on the officers. Apart from the three who died, their colleagues escaped the attack. According to an eyewitness, the bandits came in guns blazing in a commando style. He says the community had fled the area in fear. “The incident happened early in the morning. Three policemen were killed by the gunmen. They fired gunshots in the air for several minutes as people ran away because bullets were flying around here.” There was a video clip of the attack that was circulating in the days since the attack on social media sites, in which the bodies of the slain officers can be seen, one lying on the ground, and the other two in the corner of a building close to the scene of the attack. Tochukwu Ikenga, the state police command spokesman, confirmed the attack, condoling with the families of the slain officers, that this is one of the highest prices security officers pay in service to their nation. “It is an unfortunate incident, and it is part of the highest price security officers pay in serving the nation, but the police command is not deterred by this development. The reinforcements teams are already in the area and the manhunt for the assailants is ongoing while joint security patrols have been intensified in the area.” https://punchng.com/gunmen-kill-three-policemen-at-anambra-checkpoint/



3. Bishop Emeritus of Abuja speaks out on election results

The Bishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has come out to say that the swearing in of people when there are still issues to be ventilated in court does not make sense. The president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is expected to be sworn in in a few weeks, on 29 May. Cardinal Onaiyekan says “there are cases in court that have not been disposed of. That is why we are in an anomalous situation. We have a president-elect whose election is being challenged and the court is handling it. I’m still waiting for the court to tell me who won the election. It doesn’t make much sense to be swearing in people when they are still in court. I know it has happened with governors, but the outcome has not been the best of all cases. I think we need to review our election process, so we do have a winner who will be sworn in and whom everybody would rally around. It is a pity that is taking longer for the court to come to its decision. My problem is that the whole system of our election must be properly reviewed so that it would be easier for winners to emerge according to the wishes of the people. It is not right to have a system that is constantly contested. We should find out why is every election being contested.” https://www.vanguardngr.com/2023/05/it-doesnt-make-sense-toswear-in-people-when-there-are-issues-in-court-onaiyekan/



4. Christians object to USCIRF report

Christians who have been the subject of ongoing persecution in Nigeria are disputing the finding of a report, which paints Fulanis as sacrificial lambs. The report, written by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) ignores the atrocities perpetrated against Christians in the country by the Fulani ethnic group, detractors of the report say. The report says that Fulani civilians have been subject to xenophobic sentiment, because “Christian communities often equate Fulani Muslims with Salafi jihadist beliefs because of their Muslim identity. Abuses have led some members of Fulani communities to arm themselves and conduct reprisal attacks based on ethnoreligious identity…Christian communities across Nigeria are threatened by deadly attacks from vengeful assailants seeking retribution for grievances against Fulani Muslim civilians.” Sean Nelson, legal counsel for the NGO Alliance Defending Freedom, says the USCIRF report “fails to explain the broader context of religiously motivated violence against Christians, where they are suffering thousands of deaths every year because of their faith. The report is needlessly polarizing in an area that requires great sensitivity. The international religious freedom community would benefit from an explanation as to how the report was produced and approved, and USCIRF should consider a retraction. It is vital that the international religious freedom community is able to come together to advocate for those in Nigeria who have been so regularly and grievously victimized. The report rightly speaks against using an overly broad brush when discussing the Fulani Muslim community and militancy within it, but then proceeds t imply with false moral equivalency and little evidence that the broader Christian community is responsible for large portions of the violence.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254217/advocates-for-persecuted-christians-in-nigeriaquestion-us-report-that-portrays-fulani-as-victims



5. Abduction of Catholic Priests continues

Two catholic priests have been kidnapped, continuing a trend of priests being the victims of abductions and murder. Rev. Fr. Chocos Kunav and Rev. Fr. Raphael Ogigba were kidnapped in the Agbaro-Otor area of Warri, Delta state. They were taken on the Agbaro-Otor road on Saturday night while on their way to nearby Ughelli, or even possibly to Warri. A statement by Rev. Fr. Okereke Kizito, said Fr. Chocos was originally from Ibadan in Ogun state, and was visiting his brother priest, Fr. Ogigba. They went on a trip to see another priest in the Agbaro-Otor area, which is where they were taken. The statement continues to call for prayers for their speedy and safe release: “We ask for intense prayers for quick and safe release. May Jesus the high priest and the Good Shepard take care of his priests and may our mother thrice admirable queen and victress intercede for them.” https://www.vanguardngr.com/2023/05/2-revfathers-kidnapped-in-delta/

The two priests have since been released, on 4 May. A statement by the Delegate Superior of the Secular Institute of Schoenstatt Fathers says “I am happy to announce to you that God has heard our prayers. (They were) released unharmed and unbroken last night, Thursday May 4th , 2023. We are very grateful to all of you for your concerns and prayers. May God bless and reward you all and may he grant you, especially in the difficult paths of life, a generous measure of His Love and Grace. Amen!” https://www.aciafrica.org/news/8197/released-unharmed-unbroken-official-on-two-nigerian-priests-kidnapped-from-warri



6. Bloodbath In Benue As Fulani Herdsmen Kill 28 Residents In Guma Local Council, Army, Police Operatives Demand

Money To Find Corpses

No fewer than 28 people have been killed by Fulani herdsmen in renewed attacks on Mbawa Council Ward in the

Guma Local Government area of Benue State, North Central Nigeria. SaharaReporters gathered that the residents

were gruesomely killed by the jihadist terrorists and herdsmen in the local government area between Sunday and

yesterday, Wednesday. Sources who spoke to SaharaReporters on Thursday, accused the Nigerian Army and Police

of complicity in the one-month daily attacks in Guma LGA. A resident of the place who gave his name simply as Barnabas confirmed the ongoing attacks on the Mbawa Council

Ward, regretting that soldiers and policemen brought to protect the people did nothing to stop the herdsmen

wielding sophisticated weapons. According to him, the police operatives are also demanding N100,000 to search for

corpses of those killed on their farmlands. He said “Since 2018 up till today our community and other Communities in

Guma local government have been under Fulani herdsmen attacks. But now it is getting worse especially since two

weeks now, we have not rested in this community.

“Between Sunday and Wednesday, they have killed 28 persons. On Wednesday being yesterday they killed seven, on

Tuesday they killed eight, on Monday they killed seven and on Sunday it was six they killed. So that is how it

continues, it has become a daily massacre and it is even close to Internal Displaced Camp (IDPs) in Daudu in Mbawa

Council Ward and the army camp is also there. In fact soldiers can see those Fulanis with weapons and they will not

do anything.

“Last week the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Guma police division; I don’t know how he managed to get the

Fulanis and called all our chiefs and some elders for a meeting with the Fulanis. At the meeting he told our people

that the Fulanis want to come and live in our community and that we should allow them to live with us.

“Recently the same Fulanis killed 36 persons and today they are here saying that they want to come and live with the

same people.

“There is military and police presence and every day, they are killing our people; not one, not two, not three. Each

and every day the killing continues and the federal government and security agencies are not saying anything. This is

how people are dying every day. This is genocide; they want to swipe us out.”

He added, “Among the seven persons they killed on Thursday, four of them were volunteer guards and three were

our comrades. They were killed and one was found and two are still in the bush. It is now that the people are

preparing to use vehicles to go for the second time to look for their corpses and security agents are here. We even

went to the police station here and DPO asked that we should look for N100,000 to give them to escort us to look for

their corpses.”

Lamenting the complicit of the security agencies especially the military and police, Barnabas said that when they

went to the bush with some soldiers and policemen to recover the corpses of those killed that at a point, soldiers

asked them not to go further that Fulanis were in the forest nearby with guns. “How did they know? For me the

security agencies are accomplices in the ongoing killings in our communities,” he stated. However, SaharaReporters

efforts to get the reaction of the Benue police command were unsuccessful as the Command’s spokesperson, CSP

Sewuese Anene, did not take calls.


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