Suspected herdsmen attacked a minor Catholic seminary in Jalingo, Taraba state and injured many, including three priests, on Monday, May 28, 2018.
A priest in the seminary, Cornelius Pobah, was shot in the leg while two other priests were beaten by the attackers while some cars were also destroyed with many other students injured.
The Director of Caritas Nigeria, an agency of the Catholic Church, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, told The Punch on Monday morning in a WhatsApp message, "Please Frs, pray for us. Our minor seminary in Jalingo has just been attacked by the Fulani, some students are injured, some cars destroyed, two priests beaten and one shot on the leg. They are currently receiving treatment at FMC."
The state's Commissioner of Police, David Akinremi, told Premium Times that the attackers targeted Pobah because he had previously challenged them on grazing their cattle on the seminary's premises.
He said, "Some shepherds had been coming to the premises to graze their cattle and the priest had challenged them about that in the past. We confirmed that the attackers were speaking Fulani and a little bit of pidgin English."
No one was killed in the attack as police officers and soldiers reportedly arrived at the seminary shortly after the incident and evacuated students from the school.
The injured victims of the attack are reported to be receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre in the state capital while security agents launch as manhunt for the attackers.
Church attack in Benue
The attack in Taraba follows a similar one in Benue state where two Catholic priests and 17 other worshippers were killed by suspected herdsmen in Gwer local government area of the state.
The priests, Rev. Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, were killed during a mass along with 17 worshippers when the attackers invaded St. Ignatius Quasi Parish Ukpor-Mbalom in Ayar-Mbalom community of Gwer East LGA on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.
They were be buried at the Ave Maria Prayer Pilgrimage Ground, on the Ayati hilltop in Gwer LGA with Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, joining mourners on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.
In reaction to their burial, President Muhammadu Buhari remarked that attacks on locations like a place of worship is an attempt to start religious conflict and turn Nigerians against one another.
He said, "As I've said before, these persistent killings are not spontaneous; there are clandestine forces with a sinister agenda to instigate war in Nigeria for selfish purposes. When they attack places of worship their aim is to turn Nigerians against one another on the basis of religion.
"We must not succumb to the hate that they wish to sow; we must not fall for their evil machinations aimed at dividing us. Now more than ever before we must stand firm against their calculations to stoke religious conflict and plunge our communities into unending bloodletting."
The country has experienced a rise in bloody attacks that have led to the death of hundreds of innocent victims in just 2018 alone with pressure growing on the federal government to arrest the trend.