Armed herdsmen have invaded the Catholic Secret Heart Minor Seminary in Jalingo, Taraba State shot and beat up priests.
The Catholic Bishop of Jalingo Dioceses, Charles Hammawa, who confirmed the attack, described it as “regrettable” adding that one of his priests was “badly wounded with various degrees of gun injuries.”
“It is regrettable as a Church because we are only modelling the children to be good citizens of Nigeria and the world at large. It is disheartening that we are now being attacked unprovoked,” he said.
During the attack, Rev. Fr. Cornelius Kobah was shot on the leg; Fr. Stephen Bakari was severely beaten while some students were injured and many cars destroyed.
Those wounded were said to have been taken to the Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo for treatment.
It was gathered that the seminary was attacked because the security challenged the herdsmen for grazing on the school premises.
Later in a press statement, the rector of the seminary, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Atsue said: “With permission from my Bishop, Most Rev. Charles Hammawa of Jalingo Diocese, 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 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) 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, beat up Fr. Stephen Bakari.
“From their conversation we were able to understand that their grievances against us are 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 Defense 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 Parents Teachers Association PTA and the bishop has equally approved one week break for the seminarians to enable them manage 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.”