Con­dem­na­tion trails Anam­bra church at­tack 11 killed, 18 in­jured – Po­lice Fam­ily feud caused it – Obiano

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - From Emma Elekwa, Awka

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:

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