Catholic Bishop Appeals for Prayers after 29 Killed in September Attacks in Nigerian State

Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe of Nigeria's Makurdi Diocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

A total of 29 people were killed in separate attacks between September 1 and 25 in various parts served by the Catholic Dioceses of Makurdi and Katsina Ala in Nigeria’s Benue State, a recent report has indicated. 

In the report shared with ACI Africa on Monday, September 26, Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe appeals for prayers and calls for the international community to amplify the cry of Nigerians who are suffering at the hands of Islamist Fulani herdsmen who seem to be on a killing spree in the Central and Southern parts of the West African country.

“Dear friends, I invite you to continue to pray for us here in Nigeria. How could a people be consistently subjected to these kinds of attacks without consequences from the government or other authorities?” Bishop Anagbe poses in the September update of the security situation in Benue State.

He adds, “Those of us who live with these killings know that the perpetrators of the genocidal attacks on our people are connected in high places; this is why no one is ever apprehended for such killings and destruction. This is why we need you to be our voices and help get our stories out.”

According to the Bishop of Makurdi, what is happening in the Nigerian State is a “genocidal situation” that he says is getting out of hand.


“It is my hope that you will continue to advocate and lobby the international community and other prominent agencies to speak out about these attacks. The genocidal situation is getting out of hand,” he says.

At the heart of the killings and displacements is the Diocese of Makurdi which also hosts the largest population of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in the Nigerian state.

A total of six separate attacks have been recorded in various areas served by the two Nigerian Catholic Dioceses in the month of September, which has not ended yet.

Of these, the September 21 attack on Mchia community that is served by Katsina Ala Diocese has been the deadliest so far, having left 11 people killed and scores injured.

The update shared with ACI Africa bears gory images of victims of armed Fulani herdsmen. Many of them are of decapitated children lying in pools of blood.

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Bishop Anagbe shared the realization that those behind the attacks have always been referred to as “unknown gunmen” when they are actually jihadists.

“From the updates I have been sharing with you in the past concerning this challenge, we have tried to unmask and make clear that the perpetrators of these heinous acts are jihadists Islamists who often camouflage as ‘herdsmen’ to kill, plunder and displace,” he says in the report shared with ACI Africa.

Expressing the ill intentions of Islamist Fulanis in the West African nation, Bishop Anagbe said in an update last month, “Jihadists often camouflage as ‘herdsmen’ but the government in power for reasons best known to it, prefers that they be called, ‘unknown gun men’”.

“Regardless of whatever nomenclature employed to shield these fundamentalists, many Nigerians now know that these are Fulani terrorist groups operating under the different names: Boko Haram, Fulani terrorists, Bandits etc., with the main intent to Islamize the country through violence,” the Nigerian Bishop who has been at the helm of Makurdi Diocese since March 2015 said.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.