Catechist among Six Killed as Fulani Herdsmen Lay Siege on Villages in Nigeria

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A Catechist is among six people that were killed when armed Fulani herdsmen attacked several villages in Nigeria’s Benue State in reportedly targeted six-day attacks that ended on August 13.

Mr. Hyicinth Kwahembega, a volunteer Catechist of St. Francis Church Mom, one of the outstations of Sacred Heart Udei Parish of Makurdi Catholic Diocese was killed when members of Mgban and other communities that were reportedly targeted in the August 8-13 attacks took to the streets to protest the killings and intimidation of Fulani herdsmen.

Fr. Jacob Igah, the priest in charge of Sacred Heart Udei Parish, which was at the centre of the Good Friday massacres has told ACI Africa the August 8-13 terror in communities served by the Catholic Parish started unfolding on August 8 when Fulani herdsmen attacked Mgban and used machetes to injure a member of the community. 

“Thanks to God this person survived the attack but the herdsmen made away with his motorbike as well as a handset and 5000 naira belonging to a lady this man was conveying on his bike,” Fr. Igah told ACI Africa. 

He said that on August 9, Fulani herdsmen again stormed Mgban community, shooting sporadically for hours, chasing members of the community from their farms. 


On August 10, the Fulani herdsmen stormed Mgban community a third time and killed the three persons who had completed their work and were resting in their homes. Earlier, Fr. Igah had narrated to ACI Africa the events surrounding the killing of the three innocent civilians.

“The event of Friday 11th August is even more painful,” the Nigerian Catholic Priest said in a note he sent to ACI Africa on August 11, the day that the Catechist was killed.

He narrated, “In the early hours of this day members of the communities affected by these attacks gathered along the highway to protest the incessant killings by the herdsmen. The representatives from government came and appealed to them to disperse so that motorists could ply the highway, assuring the protesters that their security will be looked into and their safety attended to. However, while negotiations were on-going, Fulani herdsmen with boldness and damning the assurances of the government and security agencies, stormed Ukohol village and killed one Mr. Hyicinth Kwahembega, a volunteer catechist of St Francis church Mom.”

Fr. Igah lamented about the killings in Udei, Mgban, Ukohol, and Urtsese communities that are served by his parish, noting that the confidence of the Fulani herdsmen when intimidating locals is now alarming.

Meanwhile, the Foundation for Justice, Development and Peace (FJDP) of the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi has decried attacks on Christian communities especially in Benue State which, according to the Church organization, follow a pattern of “displace and occupy”.

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“Since 2009, attacks by Islamic jihadists masquerading as herdsmen on Christian farming communities in the Benue valley have occurred almost on a daily basis. And since this time too, the attacks follow a pattern of display and occupy. Thousands have been killed while many more have been forced to flee their lands,” FJDP says in a report shared with ACI Africa on August 14.

About the August 8-13 attacks in communities served by Sacred Heart Udei Parish, the peace entity says, “While this is no doubt a harrowing incident, it is nothing new to us. Throughout 2022, the FJDP recorded and shared incidents of daily attacks and killings in communities in Benue State.”

They however find it shocking that the renewed attacks in Benue State are happening with the new government of President Ahmed Tinubu and Governor Hyacinth Alia in place. 

“One would have thought that such impunity as perpetrated under the (Muhammadu) Buhari regime that allowed Fulani herdsmen terrorist to get away with genocide has become a thing of the past. But alas this is not to be,” FJDP says.

The development arm of the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi has appealed for immediate action to end the suffering of Christian communities served by Sacred Heart Udei Parish, saying, “As the community grapples with the profound loss of individuals, we fervently advocate for swift and resolute action. The wheels of justice must turn decisively to stop the jihadists from exterminating defenseless Christian populations not only in Benue but in other parts of Nigeria as well.”


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.