Nigerian police have reported that armed herdsmen opened fire on a congregation killing 16 people, and injuring others on Tuesday.
“Violating a place of worship, killing priests and worshippers is not only vile, evil and satanic, it is clearly calculated to stoke up religious conflict and plunge our communities into endless bloodletting,” President Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement.
The increased violence in the African country has put pressure on Buhari, who has been in office less than a year.
A police spokesman Moses Yamu said the attack took place about 6:00 a.m. in Benue state. “Sixteen persons were confirmed killed, including two priests,” he said of the attack, which was reportedly linked to grazing rights and diminishing fertile land space.
"The herdsmen burnt nearly 50 houses during the attack and sacked the entire community,” state official, Terver Akase, told CNN. "We expect arrests to be made because they (attackers) are becoming more brazen.”
Several days ago, 10 people were allegedly killed by herdsmen in the state.
The nomadic Fulani herdsmen have been clashing with farmers since 2013, according to local media reports.
"We call on all humane persons and groups around the world to come to the aid of our farming and worship communities and end these terror attacks across Nigeria and especially in Benue, our food basket, which also threatens our collective food security," the Benue Valley Professional Network said in a statement.
So far, hundreds of people have died this year in clashes between the herders and farmers in the central region of Nigeria.
Some 73 people were killed in the first few days of 2018.