A priest in Southern Nigeria was killed Thursday by suspected Fulani radicals while five pastors from a Pentecostal denomination were abducted in a separate incident just outside of Lagos.
The Catholic Diocese of Enugu announced the killing of Father Paul Offu by unidentified gunmen on Thursday evening.
According to the diocese, Offu was the parish priest at St. James Greater Parish in Ugbawka. He’s originally is from Okpatu in the Udi local government area.
In a Facebook statement, the diocese declared: “tragedy strikes again in the Enugu Diocese.”
“With a deep sense of sorrow, the Catholic Diocese of Enugu announces the tragic death of REV FR PAUL OFFU who was shot dead [Aug. 1] by some hoodlums suspected to be the notorious and murderous Fulani herdsmen, along Ihe-Agbudu Road in Awgu [local government area],” the statement reads. “May perpetual light shine upon his gentle and illustrious soul.”
The diocese’s communications director, Benjamin Achi, told the Nigerian media outlet The Punch that the priest was killed by Fulani radicals.
“Fr. Offu was stopped by the murderous herdsmen while returning to his parish after a visit to priest friend along Ihe-Agbudu road in Awgu LGA.” Achi told The Punch. “They dragged him to the bush but one of the assailants said kill him, that the church would not do anything if they kidnapped him.”
Across the nation, predominantly Christian farming communities are being attacked with increasing frequency by Fulani radicals.
While the Nigerian government claims the violence is just “farmer-herder clashes,” advocates warn that thousands in these farming communities have been killed or have been forced to flee in the last several years because of Fulani attacks.
The priest’s murder comes about five months after the body of priest Clement Ugwu from St. Mark Catholic Church in the Ezeagu local government area was found after a one-week search.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith