Catholic Church Massacre Leaves Over 50 Dead — Final Numbers Could Be Even Worse
(TargetLiberty.org) – Over 50 people are dead after an assault on a Catholic church in Nigeria. The attackers stormed the church during mass, detonating a bomb and shooting worshippers. While the identity of the killers isn’t known yet, local bandit gangs are the lead suspects.
On June 5, a group of armed men attacked St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Owo, a town in Nigeria’s Ondo State. Local media reports that they set off an explosive device and opened fire on the congregation; doctors and officials say at least 50 were killed and local hospitals are overwhelmed with dozens of wounded. Some reports also say the attackers took the priest hostage and he’s still missing.
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. pic.twitter.com/30fMbfnOxc
— Arakunrin Akeredolu (@RotimiAkeredolu) June 5, 2022
State Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu condemned the attack on Sunday, calling it “vile and satanic.” So far, no terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the atrocity. However, local legislator Adeyemi Olayemi says the leading suspects are bandits from the Fulani ethnic group. The Fulani are traditionally cattle herders, and the state government has recently restricted grazing rights to reduce conflicts between herdsmen and farmers.
In the last few years, these conflicts have escalated, with a series of kidnappings carried out by Fulani bandits. Olayemi believes the attack was carried out to pressure the state into reversing its decision on grazing rights. Governor Akeredolu is holding firm, though — and he’s pledged to “hunt down these assailants and make them pay.”
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