SAD SUNDAY: “How terrorists stormed Ondo Catholic Church, killed many”

St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, in Owo
St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, in Owo

…Ondo Governor Akeredolu heartbroken

Many people have been killed as suspected terrorists opened fire on worshippers at St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, in Owo area of Ondo State, Southwest Nigeria.

The terrorists, suspected to be bandits stormed the church during mass service on Sunday morning.

Sources said the terrorists sprayed worshippers with bullets on entering the church, leading to the death of many.

Gory videos online showed many people dead.

Many have put the death toll at about 50.

It was gathered that the injured and the dead were rushed to the Federal Medical Centre Owo, for medical attention.

Asides the Federal Medical Centre, many injured people were also said to have been taken to private hospitals for treatment.

Eyewitnesses have now revealed how the terrorists, suspected to be bandits attacked the church during mass service on Sunday morning.

An eyewitness, Kehinde Ogunkorode, said the gunmen were about five in number and that they were shooting sporadically inside the church.

“It was like a movie, they invaded the church and shot indiscriminately. Several people were killed including children and women,” he told the Vanguard.

“It was when they wanted to abduct the priest that they threw dynamite into the church,” he added.

A source who craved anonymity said “some gunmen invaded the church during service, opened fire, and killed no fewer than 25 members of the church.

“The congregants were caught unaware by the killers. They also used explosives but many were shot.”

It’s black Sunday in Owo, our hearts are heavy -Akeredolu

Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu in a series of tweets, said he has cut short his national assignment in Abuja and is rushing home on hearing the attack.

“I am deeply saddened by the unprovoked attack and killing of innocent people of Owo, worshiping at the St. Francis Catholic Church, Today.

“The vile & satanic attack is a calculated assault on the peace-loving people of Owo Kingdom who have enjoyed relative peace over the years.

“It is a black Sunday in Owo. Our hearts are heavy. Our peace and tranquility have been attacked by the enemies of the people. This is a personal loss, an attack on our dear state,” he said.

The governor said he had spoken with the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ondo, Most Reverend Jude Arogundade, who is presently on his way to Owo.

“Similarly, I have had to cut short my party’s national assignment in Abuja and visit Owo immediately.

“This is an unexpected development. I am shocked to say the least. Nevertheless, We shall commit every available resource to hunt down these assailants and make them pay.

“We shall never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in our resolves to rid our state of criminals. I commiserate with my people in Owo, particularly families of the those who lost their lives to this ugly and unfortunate attack. I extend my condolences to Olowo of Owo, Oba Gbadegesin Ogunoye as well as the Catholic Church,” he added.

Akeredolu urged the people to remain calm and vigilant.

“Do not take laws into your hands. I have spoken to the heads of the security agencies. I have equally been assured that security operatives would be deployed to monitor and restore normalcy to Owo kingdom,” he said.