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Friday, 2 August 2019

Catholic priests hit Enugu streets to protest ‘attacks by herdsmen’

Catholic priests hit Enugu streets to protest ‘attacks by herdsmen’

Priests in the Catholic Diocese of Enugu state hit the streets on Friday to protest the alleged continued attacks targeted at them.

The priests matched through major streets in their hundreds, carrying placards with inscriptions urging the state government to urgently address the “rising insecurity” in the state.

They were at the state government house as well as the state police command headquarters where they dropped letters stating their grievances.

In an interview with TheCable, Benjamin Achi, communications director of the diocese, accused herdsmen of being behind the attacks including that of Thursday in which one of the priests was killed.

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“The rate of insecurity has gone out of hand and the government should rise to the occasion,”he said.

“The fulani herdsmen have been killing people repeatedly.  The incident yesterday makes it third priest attacked in recent months.”

He added that the agitation goes beyond the priests and concerns all the citizens in the state.

“It is not just about the priests, it is about the people as well. Most people cannot even go to their farms,” Achi said.

“The priests are so angry; we dropped our message with the governor and left.”

The protest was triggered by the death of Paul Offu, parish priest of St. James the Great parish, Ugbawka, who was shot dead on Thursday by yet-to-be-identified persons.

When contacted, Ebere Amaraizu, the command’s spokesman, told TheCable the police is preparing an official statement on the matter.

TheCable could not immediately reach the spokesperson of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), the umbrella body of the herdsmen, to react to the allegation.

Offu’s death comes after two recent attacks on two priests in the state: Ikechukwu Ilo was seriously injured by kidnappers after he refused to stop his car while Clement Ugwu was killed by armed men while returning from a meeting in Ezeagu local government area.

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