Taraba attack: Catholic seminary rector reveals how herdsmen threatened to graze inside church building


Rev’d. Fr. Emmanuel Atsue, rector of the Sacred Heart Minor Seminary in Jalingo Taraba state which was attacked by herdsmen in the early hours of Monday, has given an account of what transpired when sophisticated arms-bearing Fulani invaded the premises of the institution.

He revealed, in a statement issued on Monday afternoon, that the grievance of the Fulani attackers was that security men in the Seminary have been challenging their decision to graze the cattle right inside the institution where future priests are trained, including around the classes, football field and laundry areas.

It was earlier reported that two Catholic priests were on Monday morning beaten with one shot in the leg when gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen attacked a minor seminary in Jalingo, Taraba State capital.

Providing more detail into the incident, Reverend Father Atsue stated that the herdsmen threatened that even if it is inside the church that they see grass their cows will graze there.

He said, “With permission from my Bishop, Most Rev. Charles Hammawa of Jalingo Diocese,  I Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Atsue (the Rector) want to announce and inform Nigerians and the international community that our diocesan Sacred Heart Minor Seminary was attacked in the early hours of this morning 28/05/2018 at about 12:30am by sophisticated armed Fulani Herdsmen (at least we heard their conversation).

“They shot sporadically at the Rector’s residence, broke window glasses in the process, (litered live bullets were collected by police) windscreen of one of the vehicles belonging to one of the priests, they shot and injured one of the priests Rev. Fr. Cornelius kobah on the leg, beat up Fr. Stephen Bakari.

“From their conversation we were able to understand that their grievances against us is that the security men in the Seminary have been challenging their decision to graze right inside the Seminary: around the classes, football field, laundry etc.

“They said even inside the church if they see grass their cows will graze. Normalcy has temporarily been restored thanks to the prompt response from the Nigerian Police, Army, Civil Defense and local vigilantee.

“All our students are complete, none is missing. Two of them who were showing them the way to the Father’s house suffered injuries from the sticks of the herdsmen.

“I had a meeting with the officials of the Parents Teachers Association PTA and the bishop has equally approved one week break for the seminarians to enable them manage trauma for a while and to show themselves to their parents that they were safe.

“For now this is the situation. Let us continue to pray for and work for peace in Nigeria,” the statement read.

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