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As many as 25 people were reportedly killed yesterday as suspected bandits opened fire on worshipers at St Francis Catholic Church on Owa-luwa Street in the Owo Local Government Area of ​​the capital of the State of Ondo, Akure.
State police spokesman Funmi Odunlami said the command would speak about the horrific incident later.
A member of St Francis Catholic Church, Kehinde Ogunkorode, has confirmed that gunmen, suspected to be kidnappers, attacked the church, killing as many as 25 worshippers.
Ogunkorode said the bandits, five in number, stormed the church during the service and fired on the members indiscriminately.
According to him, “it was like in a movie, they invaded the church and fired indiscriminately. Several people were killed, including children and women.
“It was when they wanted to kidnap the priest that they threw dynamite into the church.”
Another source confirmed that as many as 25 dead bodies have been moved out of the church and many of the victims are at Owo Federal Medical Center for medical treatment.
According to him, “Some gunmen stormed the church during the service, opened fire and killed as many as 25 church members.
“The worshipers were caught off guard by the killers. They also used explosives but many were shot down,” he said.
Also speaking, one of the priests of St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, Owo, Ondo State, Father Andrew Abayomi, narrated how the church was attacked.
Abayomi, who spoke in an interview with BBC Yoruba, said suspected terrorists struck as the church service was winding down.
He said, “We were about to finish the service. I had even asked people to start leaving, which is how we started to hear gunshots from different angles.
“We hid inside the church, but some people had left when the attack happened. We locked ourselves in the church for 20 minutes. When we learned that they were gone, we opened the church and transported the victims to the hospital,” Abayomi said.
Reacting to the incident, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed his shock and sadness over the heinous killing of worshipers yesterday at St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, Owo Kingdom, Owo State. Wave.
Buhari, in his condemnation of the despicable act, said eternal sorrow awaits those who kill here on earth and in the hereafter.
The president’s expression of grief was contained in a statement released by his special adviser on media and publicity, Chief Femi Adesina.
Buhari, in the statement, said, “Only demons from the lower region could have conceived and committed such a despicable act, adding that eternal sorrow awaits them both on earth here, and ultimately in the hereafter. “
He mourned the dead, offered his condolences to their families, the Catholic Church and the Ondo state government, instructing emergency agencies to spring into action and rescue the injured.
The statement quoted him as saying, “No matter what, this country will never yield to the wicked and the wicked, and the darkness will never triumph over the light. Nigeria will eventually win.
Also reacting, Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN vowed to hunt down the attackers behind the killing of innocent Owo worshiping at St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, yesterday.
The governor, who described the incident as a vile and satanic attack, said he was saddened by the calculated aggression against the peace-loving residents of the Owo Kingdom who have enjoyed relative peace over the years.
Akeredolu’s reaction was contained in a statement released by his chief press officer, Richard Olatunde, saying: “It’s a black Sunday in Owo. Our hearts are heavy. Our peace and tranquility have been attacked by the enemies of the people. It is a personal loss, an attack on our dear state.
“I spoke to the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ondo, Bishop Jude Arogundade, who is currently on his way to Owo. Likewise, I had to cut short my party’s national mission in Abuja and visit Owo immediately. .
“It’s an unexpected development. I am shocked to say the least. Nonetheless, we will commit all available resources to tracking down these attackers and making them pay. We will never pander to the machinations of heartless elements in our resolve to rid our state of criminals.
“I sympathize with my people in Owo, especially the families of those who lost their lives in this ugly and unfortunate attack. I offer my condolences to Olowo of Owo, Oba Gbadegesin Ogunoye as well as to the Catholic Church.
“I urge our people to remain calm and vigilant. Do not take the laws into your hands. I have spoken to the heads of the security agencies. I have also been assured that security officers will be deployed to monitor and restore the normalcy in the kingdom of Owo,” Akeredolu said.
In his remarks, the leader of the Yoruba self-determination movement, Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, Professor Banji Akintoye, described the attack on Christian worshipers at St. Francis Catholic Church, by terrorists suspected of being shepherds Fulani, as a declaration of war against the Yoruba people.
Akintoye said, “The brazenness of the Fulani marauders must be frankly and courageously confronted in order to prove to their sponsors that the Yoruba people can never be intimidated or subjugated.”
The leader of the Ilana Group, in a statement by the Secretary for Communications, Mr Maxwell Adeleye, titled “The attack on the Catholic Church in Owo is a declaration of war against the Yoruba – Akintoye people”, called on the Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, to declare an emergency against the activities of Fulani herders in the state with immediate effect.
He said: “We have stated very expressly that the Yoruba people must urgently negotiate their way out of Nigeria, but our partisan political actors in Yorubaland have never taken us seriously. We warned them that there was fire on the mountain, but we were mocked because of their personal aggrandizement.
“Today we were all surrounded, especially in Lagos. That shepherds had the brazenness to bomb a church in Yorubaland to kill people shows that we are now in real danger.
“My urgent advice to Governor Akeredolu is to rise to the challenge and declare an emergency against the activities of all Fulani herders in the state with immediate effect. We are now taken for granted. We don’t have to pretend anymore. We must demand, unanimously, an exit from Nigeria.
“We the Yoruba people cannot live in the same country with characters whose idea of ​​a common citizenship in Nigeria is to brutalize us, subjugate us and even exterminate us. It’s time to leave these characters now. All stakeholders – elites, traditional leaders and our women must act now.
“All South West states, including the Yoruba rulers of Kogi and Kwara states, should also declare a state of emergency against the activities of Fulani herdsmen. Now we have to take our destiny into our own hands,” he said.
Aareonakakanfo from Yoruba country, Iba Gani Adams, also condemned the attack on worshipers at Owo Catholic Church, where it was feared many were killed while several others suffered life-threatening injuries .
Adams, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Kehinde Aderemi, said the incident was ungodly and he is capable of threatening the foundation and existence of Nigeria.
He described the perpetrators of the bloody attack as evil, saying they have sinned against God and should be prepared to face the wrath of the Most High God.
Expressing his concern over the wave of insecurity across the country, the Yoruba Generalissimo said, “The cases of Boko Haram and bandits and other criminal elements who still attack churches and mosques have simply shown the failures of the government. leaders and the security apparatus.
“The reports available to me clearly showed that the attackers, disguised as church worshippers, planted an explosive device within the church premises and carried out their evil attack against innocent worshippers.
“Later they kidnapped the Reverend Father, leaving the faithful dead cold in the pool of their blood.
“The criminals, according to reports, did not come with vehicles, they hijacked vehicles on the road to transport their victims.
“Meanwhile, the owner of the hijacked vehicle had gone to Owo A. Division to report the incident, even though all the roads in the ancient city were reportedly deserted as people stayed off the roads.
“The federal government must assume its responsibilities, begin a thorough investigation into the attack and also bring the perpetrators of this bloody incident to justice. The investigation into the Owo Catholic bombing should not be swept under the rug. Those who carried out the attack are not ghosts, they must be apprehended immediately.
While extending his condolences to the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu and the Olowo of Owo, Oba Gbadegesin Ajibade Ogunoye, Adams however urged the Governor not to slacken his efforts to secure the state, saying that Ondo State would not succumb to the will of the criminals. who are willing to truncate the peace of the state.
“The video clips and images of the deadly attack on worshipers could be better imagined. Such an attack would certainly not happen in a healthier climate where security is effective. It would not happen in a country where life citizens is valuable to the government.
“However, at this sober moment, I feel the pain even as I offer my condolences to the Governor, the Royal Father, the good people of Owo Town, especially those who lost their loved ones in this cruel attack. The attack is a condemnable act, and a sad one by the way. It is an attempt to destabilize the state and make life unbearable for the people,” he said.
Similarly, the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, said the Owo attack in which church worshipers were murdered at St Francis Catholic Church was a direct attack on the Yoruba race.
Its National Organizing Secretary, Abagun Kole Omololu, said that “the massacre at Owo Chatholic Church is a direct attack on Yoruba land.
“He speaks to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for his unwavering support for security on Yoruba land in defending Amatekun’s security teams, his strict adherence to the Open Pardon Act, and for his ‘big mouth’ on the cooperation of the South for Equity and Justice in Nigeria.
“We will not succumb to terrorist threat or attack, they will not be allowed to bring down our civilization.
“We will hunt down the killers. Citizens should not get justice by attacking innocent people in the North, only terrorists, who are mostly foreign Fulani, should be picked up and finished off by the security forces.
“This attack aims to cause confusion and war in our country. We must not play into their hands.
Omololu said “this evil is condemned in the strongest terms. We are commensurate with the government and people of Ondo State, the Catholic Church, the Olowo of Owo and the people of Owo”.

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