President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the killings on Tuesday at a Catholic Church in Benue State.
Premium Times reported that suspected herdsmen killed 15 people in an early morning attack on the church in Ukpor-Mbalom, a community in Gwer West Local Government Area.
Terver Akase, a spokesperson to Governor Samuel Ortom, told the newspaper that the attackers also burnt 50 houses and sacked the entire community.
The Catholic Diocese of Makurdi later confirmed two of its priests, Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, both reverend fathers, were killed in the attack on St Ignatius Quasi Parish in Ukpor, Mbalom.
In a State House statement by his spokesperson, Femi Adeshina, President Buhari described the killing as "vile and satanic."
Below is the statement:
STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
PRESIDENT BUHARI CONDEMNS DESPICABLE KILLING OF PRIESTS AND WORSHIPPERS IN BENUE CHURCH
President Muhammadu Buhari has described as vile and satanic the killing of worshippers and two priests at a Catholic church in Ukpor-Mbalom community in Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue 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," the President said.
Stressing that the country will not bow to the machinations of evildoers, President Buhari vowed that the assailants would be hunted down and made to pay for the sacrilege committed.
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
April 24, 2018