Gunmen stormed a church in the Nigerian city of Owo during the Pentecost Sunday service. The governor speaks of a “disgusting” attack – it is still unclear who is behind it.
Dozens of people were killed in an attack on a Catholic church in south-west Nigeria on Pentecost Sunday. According to the Ondo state government, the attack in the town of Owo happened during Sunday worship at St. Francis Church.
A group of unknown gunmen stormed the church and shot indiscriminately at those attending the service, a resident told the German Press Agency. According to media reports, explosives were also detonated during the attack.
The exact number of victims is not yet clear. The government of the state of Ondo did not provide any information on the number of deaths. The online publication “People’s Gazette” quoted a state congressman as saying that 28 people had been killed. Some local media such as the Nigerian Tribune spoke of around 50 deaths.
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu called the attack “disgusting and satanic” and added that “it is a calculated attack on the peace-loving people of Owo”.
A video recording is circulating on social media, which is supposed to show the location of the event. Apparently dead people can be seen lying on the ground covered in blood – including children.
So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Local residents suspect that the attack was carried out by extremists from northern Nigeria.
Jihadist groups have carried out many attacks on churches in the predominantly Muslim north of Nigeria in recent years. This is the first time a church has been attacked in the predominantly Christian South. Religious conflicts, especially between Muslims and Christians, occur again and again in the West African country with around 206 million inhabitants.