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"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.

"More than 15 Christians were killed and 50 houses destroyed by the herdsmen", Umenge said.

The attack comes just a day after 19 people were killed in a church in the state.

The attack was carried out by around 30 suspected herdsmen in the Mbalom community at dawn on Tuesday, according to Benue state police commissioner Fatai Owoseni in the state capital of Makurdi.

Richard Nyajo, chairman of Logo local government, told journalists that herdsmen were responsible for the attack.

The victims were said to be taking refuge at the church following displacement from their communities.

He said: "The militant herdsmen arrived Mondo settlement about 1am and started shooting sporadically at displaced persons who were asleep in the church which also has a primary school building".

Intersociety recalled that the marauding Fulani herdsmen recognised in Nigerian laws as Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has President Muhammadu Buhari as their grand national patron.

CAN called on Chrisians to protest peacefully in churches on Sunday against the killings. The protests also are planned to object to the continued captivity of the only Christian girl kidnapped by Boko Haram from Dapchi School, Leah Nathan Sharibu, and the remaining Christians girls abducted from a Chibok high school four years ago.

"Christians are to carry placards with different inscriptions meant to address issues about sustained killings, attacks and destruction of their property in Nigeria", the reverend said.

The umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria reminded the government of its oath of office and constitutional responsibility of protecting citizens, and charged authorities to quit unnecessary excuses and rise to the occasion.

It attributed the continued killings to the failure of the government to mount an effective campaign against the attacks, killings by the herdsmen, noting that there was equally no visible plan to pacify the aggrieved.

Nigeria ranked 14 on Open Doors' 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.

"Rather than arrest and prosecute the Fulani herdsmen, security forces usually manned by Muslims from the North offer them protection as they unleash terror with impunity on the Nigerian people".