Abominable, Barbaric and Inhuman-several shot dead in
Anambra Church Sunday Morning
St. Philips Catholic Church in Ozubulu, Ekusigo local government area of Anambra state was attacked this morning, August 6 and several persons have been reported killed by gunmen.
Lamenting over the event, The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has described the attack on the innocent worshippers in the Catholic Church in Anambra state in cold blood by people he called “sons of perdition” as abominable, barbaric, inhuman, and the height of wickedness. He complained, “Have we lost our humanity? Where is the place of sanctity of life and sacredness of worship places in our society? What offence did the worshippers commit to warrant their massacre in cold blood by wicked souls and heartless men?”
Narrating the event, an eyewitness allegedly said the gunmen had gone to assassinate Bishop (drug lord) and his father but since they could not find them in their house, they went into the church built by the same Bishop to hunt for their targets. “On their arrival in the church, they put off the generator supplying power to the church and started shooting sporadically searching for their targets. My take is that the influence of amphetamine and other hard substances is at work… that’s why we advise our fellow youths to stay away from hard substances and other harmful practices.”
According to Vanguard, 15 were killed and 21 wounded, some other media houses however reported 29 people dead.
Garba Umar, the Anambra State police chief, said the violence was tied to a feud within the local community. “The information at the disposal of the police is that the gunman had been hired to kill a particular family person believed to be among the worshippers,” he said.
Contrary to Vanguard, a worker at the Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital said 12 people have been confirmed dead, and many others with gunshot wounds were also receiving treatment there.
Local rights activist Emeka Umeagbalasi said his information about the motive largely concurred with that of the police version. According to him, the gunmen went to the church looking for the son of a local chief, and opened fire on the parishioners when they could not find him, Umeagbalasi said. “I saw my fellow church members dead in a pool of their own blood and many others were screaming in pain,” said Chukwuma Emeka who entered the church after the shooting.
Attacks on churches are rare in southern Nigeria, which is predominantly Christian.
Authorities said they do not believe that Boko Haram was behind the attack. Dogara has however called on security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the heinous crime and bring them to justice speedily. He also extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, people and government of Anambra state, Nigeria and the Catholic Church over the sad and unfortunate incident.