ABUJA, April 26 (Xinhua) -- At least seven worshippers were killed early Thursday in a fresh attack on a church by unknown gunmen in Nigeria's central north state of Benue, a local official confirmed.
Richard Nyajo, a local government chief, said the armed men invaded a local church and a primary school in Logo area of the troubled state, firing heavy shots.
Most of the victims were taking refuge both in the church and the school in Mbamondo community in Benue because they were displaced from their homes due to earlier attacks, Nyajo said.
"Many of them were still asleep when the gunmen struck," he told Xinhua.
The figure of injured victims is uncertain. The official said local herdsmen were suspected to have carried out the attack.
Benue is located in Nigeria's so-called Middle Belt which separates the predominantly Muslim north from the largely Christian south.
Relations between local farmers and herdsmen in the state has remained tense for many years.
On Tuesday, suspected herdsmen killed at least 16 people, including two priests, in a dawn attack on a Catholic church in Benue.
The assailants, numbering 30, opened fire on worshippers at the St. Ignatius quasi-church during the morning mass on Tuesday, according to Benue police chief, Fatai Owoseni.
The herdsmen suspected to be responsible for attacks in the state are mostly Muslims from the Fulani ethnic group while members of the settled farming communities are mainly Christians.
Benue has long been a hotbed of ethnic, sectarian and religious conflicts, a lot of it over land.