Some unidentified Muslim youths on Friday attacked St. Philip’s Catholic Parish, Baki Iku, close to Zuma Rock, Niger State.
While the motive of the attack was not immediately clear, eyewitnesses say some Catholics had gone to the church to pray when they were attacked by the Muslims, who claimed that Friday was their day of prayer and that the church only had right to worship on Sundays.
In their anger, the youths reportedly went haywire, destroying the church’s property, including doors and the windows.
Some soldiers managed to arrive at the scene but not before the irate youths had done damage to the building as worshippers ran helter-skelter to avoid being killed.
The Vicar-General of the Diocese, Rev. Fr. Luka Sylvester Gopep, confirmed the ugly incident, which came about a week after a female preacher was attacked and killed by some persons in Kubwa, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja while conducting street preaching in the morning.
Narrating the incident at Baki Iku, Gopep said: “Sometime around 2pm, some Muslim youths in their hundreds left their mosque after their Friday Jumat prayer and rushed to the church premises, climbed the wall and destroyed everything in the church: the windows, the altar, musical instruments, the chapel.
“The security man in the church premises was beaten to pulp. “Some women who were holding a prayer meeting were chased away.
“The seminarian who is resident in the premises was also beaten up and chased away”.
When contacted, the Niger State Police Command spokesman, Bala Elkana, confirmed the story, adding, however, that no life was lost.
Elkana, a deputy superintendent of police, said the prompt response of the police stopped the situation from getting out of hand.