Home Latest News Deadly church attack rattles a peaceful corner of Nigeria

Deadly church attack rattles a peaceful corner of Nigeria

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DAKAR, Senegal — The primary photographs rang out as mass was drawing to an in depth on the small church within the Nigerian city of Owo.

“The bomb exploded, and we had been surrounded all over the place, they surrounded the church,” stated 50-year-old Shalom, who was among the many worshipers at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church on Sunday when it was stormed by gunmen, who opened hearth on the panicked crowd and detonated explosives. She declined to provide her final title, fearing reprisals.

“I managed to flee, and I didn’t see their faces. It was horrible,” she added, saying she misplaced rely of the useless as she rushed to security.

Dozens of individuals had been feared killed and scores injured within the assault in southwestern Ondo State, the place spiritual violence is uncommon. Graphic movies from the scene present bloodied our bodies on the ground, together with girls and kids.

Native media put the dying toll as excessive as 50, however police have but to substantiate the determine or launch full particulars of the assault. No group has claimed duty.

Most violence in Nigeria has taken place within the northeast, the place Boko Haram has waged an Islamist insurgency for greater than a decade, usually attacking church buildings and kidnapping schoolchildren. Tens of 1000’s of individuals have been killed within the area and thousands and thousands displaced. Violence within the southwest, in contrast, has primarily been marked by kidnappings for ransom and battle between farmers and herders from the Yoruba ethnic group.

Safety was visibly tighter throughout Ondo State on Monday, witnesses informed The Washington Publish. “All palms are on deck to forestall any related assault in any a part of the state,” an Ondo police spokesman stated in a press release.

Father Augustine Ikwu, communications director for the diocese of Ondo, denied experiences that the attackers had kidnapped a priest and members of the congregation, and stated Nigerian safety forces have been deployed to Owo.

“All of the monks within the parish are secure and none was kidnapped,” stated Ikwu in a press release quoted by Vatican Information. “The Bishop of the diocese can be with them at this making an attempt time,” Ikwu stated.

The Vatican stated Pope Francis was praying “for the victims and the nation, painfully affected at a time of celebration.”

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to deal with the safety disaster when he was elected in 2015, however has struggled to place an finish to the violence. “It doesn’t matter what, this nation shall by no means give in to evil and depraved individuals, and darkness won’t ever overcome gentle,” he stated Monday. “Nigeria will finally win.”

Whereas the assault was the primary of its form in Ondo state, it suits a bigger sample of communal violence throughout Nigeria, in line with Ebenezer Obadare, a senior fellow for African Research on the Council on Overseas Relations in Washington.

“Whoever orchestrated this wished to ship a non secular message,” he stated. Whereas he doubted Boko Haram was accountable, he stated it was worrying that different teams could also be making an attempt to make use of the identical ways to terrorize the nation’s Christian neighborhood. “In saying this isn’t Boko Haram, we are able to’t say this doesn’t have a non secular connotation.”

Wroughton reported from Cape City, South Africa.

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