The Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Anambra, has released a statement describing Sunday’s attack on worshippers at St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu, by a gunman as regrettable. At least one gunman had attacked the church on Sunday morning killing about 12 person while numerous others sustained various degrees of injury. In a statement signed by the diocese Director of Communication, Rev. Hygi Aghaulor, the church said that the Parish Priest, Rev Fr. Jude Onwuaso escaped unhurt. The statement said, “It is regrettable that our people are more and more losing a sense of what is sacred”.“What on earth would make people open fire on innocent unarmed worshippers including children and women on a Sunday morning?”
Beytown blog learnt that more than 16 casualties are now in stable conditions while six had undergone surgeries successfully.At least 11 people were killed in the Sunday morning shooting, according to the police, after the shooter opened fire at a crowd of worshippers attending the morning’s Mass at the church. The police say preliminary investigation pointed to a feud between two individuals of the same community who reside outside the country. “One of the individuals built the church where the shooting occurred; it is definitely not a terrorist attack in the mould of Boko Haram or Fulani herdsmen attack,” said Garba Umar, the state’s police commissioner. On Sunday, security officials cordoned off the church as blood stains and bullets littered the premises. Villagers and sympathizers stood around discussing the incident in hushed tones. At the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital in Nnewi were most of the victims were taken, people struggled to gain entrance through the heavily guarded gate. Over a dozen casualties lay in pools of their blood as they waited for emergency care.
It was learned that trouble started for worshippers who were in church for the 6:00am Mass, when at about 6:45am, the gunmen rode into the church in a Lexus SUV, as one of them entered the church and shot at close range an elderly man, later identified as Pa Ikegwuonu, while others remained in the vehicle outside. An eye-witness report that after killing the old man, the gunman opened fire on other worshippers, as those who tried to flee were cut down by the gunmen outside the church. Pa Ikegwuonu is the father of Chief Aloysius Ikegwuonu, a businessman from Amakwa, who built and donated the church to Nnewi Diocese, while his wife was shot on her right arm and still on admission at the teaching hospital.
It was gathered that the gunmen were looking for his son, Aloysius, who was said to have returned to the village on Saturday and left later in the day. According to a source, the gunmen had thought he was in the church and had wanted to deal decisively with him over a yet-to-be ascertained business deal.
Catholic church reaction
The Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Anambra, has described Sunday’s attack on worshippers at St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu, by a gunman as regrettable.
Saraki, Ekweremadu react
In his reaction, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said the perpetrators of the attack must as a matter of urgency, be brought to justice. Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said: “Today, my heart goes out to Nigeria’s Christian community, Governor Willy Obiano, the people of Anambra State, and the families of the victims and the survivors of this terrible massacre.
Senator Andy Uba
Senator Andy Uba reacting, condemned the shooting and killing of the worshippers. In a statement issued by his media aide, Joseph Itazi, Sen. Uba, who visited the scene of the incident said that people of Anambra were not known for such violence.
Church Killings, Barbaric -APC
In the same vein, the All Progressives Congress, APC, condemned the attack, describing it as barbaric. APC in a statement signed by its spokesman, Bolaji Abdullahi, commiserated with the Catholic Church in Nigeria as well as the government and people of Anambra State.
Huriwa Condemns Ozubulu Massacre; Calls For State Police
A pro-democracy and Non- Governmental organisation—Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (Huriwa) has condemned the early Morning massacre of worshippers in Anambra.