Condemnation trails Anambra church attack 11 killed, 18 injured – Police Family feud caused it – Obiano
Agun attack on worshippers at a church in Anambra State has left 11 people killed and 18 others wounded, the police confirmed yesterday.
The police also said a lone gunman was behind the shooting at St. Philip’s Catholic Church Ozubulu, in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of the state.
The attack, which occurred at about 6.30 am when worshippers were attending morning mass, drew condemnation from officials and public figures.
Daily Trust gathered that the gunman stormed the church in search of an alleged drug baron but that he had fled on getting wind of the plot.
The source said the gunman opened fire indiscriminately into rows of worshipers,
killing many including the father of the target.
The Commissioner of Police in Anambra State, Mr Garba Umar, at a news conference in Awka, described the attack as a sacrilege, adding that it was an isolated feud between individuals in the community.
“The intelligence report and preliminary investigation showed that the incident was as a result of a feud between two individuals from the same community living outside Nigeria.
“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.
“The command will brief the public after investigation is concluded; I commiserate with all those who lost their loved ones in this unfortunate incident.
“I also encourage ‘Ndi’ Anambra to be vigilant and to promptly report suspicious movements or strange observation of persons and actions in their localities to the security agencies,’’ the commissioner said.
Briefing journalists, the Parish priest, Reverend Father Jude Onwuaso, said at least 11 parishioners died on the spot while about 25 injured persons have been taken to the hospital.
The Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Anambra, described the attack on the worshippers as regrettable.
The church, in a statement signed by Rev. Hygi Aghaulor, Director of Communications of the Diocese, earlier said the Parish Priest, Rev Fr. Jude Onwuaso, escaped unhurt.
He described the act as a sign of loss of what is sacred and consoled the families of victims of the attack.
“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?
“We condemn this ungodly act in its totality; we pray Almighty God to console the families affected and assure them that our hearts are with them as we pray for the quick recovery of the wounded.
“For the entire parishioners, we call on them not to be discouraged in their usual practice of faith.
“Evil may make attempts but God and goodness will always triumph; we call on the good people to continue to pray for the deceased worshippers and their families,” Aghaulor stated.
Meanwhile, the state governor, Willie Obiano, has vowed to deal ruthlessly with perpetrators of the killing. He said he would not rest until justice is done.
Speaking during an emergency visit to the church, the governor described the killings as barbaric and unacceptable but debunked insinuations of possible invasion of any kind.
Obiano, who was briefed by the Parish priest and the State Commissioner of Police, called on worshippers across the state not to panic but to go about their normal activities, assuring that his government is on top of the situation.
Obiano later visited the injured persons receiving treatment at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi. He promised that the state government will pay for their hospital bills, adding that 50 doctors have also been mobilised to provide support to the hospital in taking care of the injured persons.
The governor also visited Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral, Nnewi where he intimated the congregation on the true picture of the incident, assuring them that there is cause for alarm as the security agencies are investigating the incident.
St. Philip's Catholic Church, Umuezekwe Ofufe Amakwa Community of Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra after the incident. PHOTO: