Friday Feb 03, 2023

Ondo Catholic churchgoers killed by gunman


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Dozens of worshippers are feared dead after gunmen opened fire in a Catholic church in Nigeria.

Early reports from local media suggest up to 50 people may have been targeted – including children – by multiple suspects who opened fire and detonated explosives.

The slaughter occurred just as churchgoers gathered for a service at Saint Francis Catholic Church in Owo, in the southwest state of Ondo.

No group has claimed responsibility and police are investigating the motivations, including whether it was a terrorist attack.

State police spokesman Funmilayo Ibukun Odunlami said early on Monday morning (Australian time) “there was an incident” and police would issue a statement soon.

Africa’s most populous country has witnessed attacks and kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs, mostly in its northwest. Such attacks are rare in southwestern Nigeria.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the “heinous” murders.

Ondo state governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu said he was heading back to the state from the capital Abuja after the “unprovoked attack and killing of innocent people of Owo.”

“We shall commit every available resource to hunt down these assailants and make them pay,” he said in a statement, calling the assault “vile and satanic”.

More to come.

-with AAP





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