1. Another Priest Kidnapped in Anambra


Fr Joseph Igweagu, a priest from Anambra State, was kidnapped on Wednesday, 12 October. He was returning to his house after celebrating a funeral Mass at Umunnachi, in the Njikoka Council Area. In a statement released by the Archdiocese of Onitsha, Fr Prudentius Emeja Arah confirmed the kidnapping, however did not say whether a ransom had been demanded yet. The statement reads, “It is with shock but strong faith in the love and protection of God that we announce to the Priests, religious, lay faithfuls of Onitsha Archdiocese and all men and women of goodwill, the abduction of out Priest Rev. Fr. Josef Igweagu, the parish priest of St Joseph parish Abata Nsugbe. Rev Fr Joseph was kidnapped while returning to his house after celebrating a funeral vigil mass at Umunnachi on Wednesday evening 12th October 2022. We solicit for sincere prayer for his unconditional release from the hands of his abductors. The Archdiocese of Onitsha is doing everything possible to secure his freedom. while (we) pray for the conversion of his abductors, we call on our Mother Mary, the undoer of knots, to intercede on his behalf so that he will be quickly released unhurt.” https://www.vanguardngr.com/2022/10/gunmen-kidnap-catholic-priest-in-anambra/ 2


2. Bloodshed Continues in Benue State


An attack in Yelewata, about 20 miles away from Makurdi town, on 12 October, left six people confirmed dead and scores more injured. According to Fr Moses Iorapuu, the communications director of Makurdi Diocese, the gunmen were speaking Fulani, and attacked regardless of the fact that the army was stationed in the town. A group of about 100 terrorists entered the town from various directions, and thereafter exchanged fire with civilians and the military alike for a few hours. Fr William Shom, a parish priest from Yelewata, about 12 soldiers and some local men attempted to repel the terrorists by firing assault rifles and machetes. Once the violence started, local residents began to pack up and flee the violence. “Our local youths got angry with the soldiers and demanded that they go after the terrorists in the bush,” he says. The terrorists continued on Thursday night, attacking a convoy entering the town, killing one person, according to Fr Shom. The military came with reinforcements on Friday, at which point it was too late for those killed, injured or displaced. Fr Shom claims that the attacks began to spike in 2019, but that, since then, not a single arrest in relation to the attacks have been made.

In Gbajimba, an Internally Displaced Persons camps, in Makurdi, St Athanasius School is still reeling after the murder of the headmistress’s husband, Amos Shemberga, on 8 October. Located in Guma Local Government area, the camps house about one million people who have fled the ongoing violence in the state. He, along with another parishioner, Thomas Ger, were ambushed when they went into the nearby fields to collect produce. “The people of Gbajimbe are hungry, and they put caution to the winds to retrieve unharvested vegetables,” says Fr Iorappu. He is becoming despondent about the situation in his area, “I have been watching this process of forced ethnic removal by terrorism for 20 years. Their objective is to conquer the peop0le so that they will leave the area. They destroy the churches. Those people who remain will have to convert to Islam. Yelewata being a border village has been under attacks for a long time, including burning of churches, which prompted the posting of the military to protect the people. However, the situation improves, and the people who had taken refuge in safer areas began to return for the farming season. With these fresh attacks, many have run into the catholic church of St Joseph’s and the primary school, but many others were seen heading towards the town of Daudu and Makurdi. Daudu has the largest concentration of internally displaced persons; the first IDP camp here was established by the diocese of Makurdi in 2001. No relief funds have been provided for the thousands displaced and no arrests made and no official response from the Federal Government,” says Fr Iorappu. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/252544/nigerian-bishop-appeals-for-help-from-european-parliament-as-terrorist-attacks-continue

In another attack on a police station and community, a police officer and 22 others have been killed in an attack, reportedly by herdsmen. The attack happed at the police station in Ukum Local Government Area, in the Gbeji community. Apart from the killed, there were 12 people left injured, including with machete cuts and injuries. The herdsmen attacked the village at 3AM, on 19 October, by sneaking into the village from nearby Tseke village, which is on the border of Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states. Chairman of Ukum LGA, Mr. Kartyo Tyoumbur, confirmed the incident, decrying it as UN provoked. “The attack was unprovoked. And as at now, 18 corpses have been recovered from the community and deposited in the mortuary. Also, 12 others were brutally macheted (sic). They are receiving treatment in a public hospital in 3

Afia, and among them were several women who were badly machete (sic). Among the dead is a policeman, who was on duty at the police station in Gbeji when the attack occurred. They attacked the police station as well. Though the attack was probably not to burn it, the policeman who was on duty was shot dead. We are still searching the bushes for more corpses and survivors because the people attacked are predominantly farmers and those in the bushes are yet to be seen. I visited the scene with security personnel to ascertain the level of damage and the number of those killed.” though there were deaths and injuries, including of five herders, the Benue State Police Commissioner, Mr. Wale Abass, has moved to assure the community of a beefed up presence of security in the area. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2022/10/policeman-22-others-killed-as-herdsmen-attack-police-station-in-benue/


3. Bishop of Makurdi Addresses European Parliament, Calls for Support


The bishop of the diocese, Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe, has called for help from the European Parliament, citing the Nigerian government’s lack of action and enthusiasm to solve the crisis. In a presentation given to the parliamentarians, he had this to say: “Figures from the Benue State government reveal that as of June 2022, Benue State has suffered more than 200 attacks with property loss (of) more than 500 billion naira and close to 2 million people displaced and living in camps across the state. many children have had their education truncated as their parents, unable to go to their farms, cannot cater for their school needs; there is a palpable food insecurity, there is the complete loss of human dignity as men, women, and children often resort to unsafe coping mechanisms for survival.” the bishops of Nigeria have not received much help from the authorities, he says. “At least three Catholic priests have been kidnapped in Nigeria since this July: Father Peter Udo of St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Uromi; Fr Philemon Oboh, St Joseph retreat Centre, Ogboha; and Fr Peter Amodu of Holy Ghost parish, in the Catholic diocese of Otukpo. In all of these cases above nothing serious has been heard to (have) happened to the perpetrators.” this reaffirms what Fr Iorappu had commented before: “The Nigerian military are there, and even have a checkpoint at the entrance of the town, but they are compromised. Hundreds of terrified residents are sheltering in St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Yelewata.”

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/252544/nigerian-bishop-appeals-for-help-from-european-parliament-as-terrorist-attacks-continue 4


4. Church Attack in Kogi State Leaves 2 Dead, Several Injured


In an attack on a parish of the Celestial Church of Christ, in Felele, Lokoja, Kogi State, two people have been killed and three others injured. A witness, who saw the gunmen, says they were fully armed, and they stormed the church and started shooting immediately, and continuously. “When they entered, they started shooting at everyone outside the church. I went and hid inside a cassava farm. What I saw yesterday was like an action film. Kogi is no longer safe,” he says. The state Police Public Relations Officer, William Oyye-Aya, has confirmed the incident. “It was a distress call that the Divisional Police Officer of B Division, Felele, received that hoodlums invaded a Celestial Church behind the NNPC Mega Station and they began shooting. Two people were confirmed dead in a hospital, while three are receiving treatment. The Commissioner of Police has deployed our operatives and ordered the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of investigation to commence investigation to unravel the cause of the attack with a view to arresting the perpetrators.” https://punchng.com/kogi-gunmen-kill-worshippers-during-church-service/

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