Nigerian authorities have taken a stance of little to no intervention, according to the bishop.
“At least three Catholic priests have been kidnapped in Nigeria since this July: Father Peter Udo of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Uromi; Father Philemon Oboh, St. Joseph Retreat Center, Ugboha; and Father Peter Amodu of Holy Ghost Parish, in the Catholic Diocese of Otukpo,” Bishop Anagbe went on to say. “In all of the cases above nothing serious has been heard to [have] happened to the perpetrators.”
That observation was similar to what Father Iorappu told CNA about the recent attacks in Yelewata.
“The Nigerian military are there, and even have a checkpoint at the entrance to the town, but they are compromised,” Iorapuu said.
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“Hundreds of terrified residents are sheltering in St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Yelewata,” he added.
Farmers attacked tilling their land
In the displaced persons hub of Gbajimba, (pronounced ba-JIM-be) 25 miles east of Makurdi, the community of St. Athanasius School is recovering from the murder of the husband of the head schoolteacher on Oct. 8.
The city is in Guma Local Governance Area and is a hub for hundreds of surrounding abandoned villages. The city hosts close to a million internally displaced people who are prevented from returning to their farms for fear of the armed terrorists who could ambush them, Iorappu said.
Two parishioners who went into their fields to collect cassava or yams were murdered Saturday, according to Iorapuu. The victims were Amos Shemberga, husband of the school’s head teacher, and his friend, Thomas Ger.
“The people of Gbajimbe are hungry, and they put caution to the winds to retrieve unharvested vegetables,” Iorappu said.
The terrorists are besieging Gbajimbe, the hometown of Gov. Samuel Ortom, to punish the governor for enforcing the law prohibiting open grazing in the state, Iorappu told CNA.
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“I have been watching this process of forced ethnic removal by terrorism for 20 years,” he said. “Their objective is to conquer the people so that they will leave the area. They destroy the churches. Those people who remain will have to convert to Islam.”
Yelewata, the scene of the Oct. 12 attack, is no stranger to terrorist attacks, Iorapuu said.
“Yelewata being a border village has been under attacks for a long time, including burning of churches, which prompted the posting of the military to protect the people,” Iorapuu wrote. “However, the situation improved, and the people who had taken refuge in safer areas began to return for the farming season.”
“With these fresh attacks, many have run into the catholic church of St. Joseph's and the primary school, but many others were seen heading towards the town of Daudu and Makurdi,” he continued. “Daudu has the largest concentration of internally displaced persons [IDP]; the first IDP camp here was established by the Diocese of Makurdi in 2001.”
“[At this time], no relief materials have been provided for the thousands displaced and no arrests made and no official response from the federal government,” Iorapuu told CNA.
Parishioners traumatized, bishop says