Nigeria church attack: Gunmen kill worshippers

Lagos : Gunmen with explosives entered a Catholic church in southwest Nigeria’s Ondo state on Sunday, killing many worshippers and wounding others, the government and police said. The violence at St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo town happened during the morning service in a rare attack in the southwest of Nigeria, where jihadists and criminal gangs operate in other parts of the country. No group claimed responsibility for the attack. The motives and the number of casualties were not immediately clear, but President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the heinous killing of worshippers. Ondo state governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu said in a statement it was a vile and satanic attack and appealed to the security forces to track down the assailants. State police spokeswoman Ibukun Odunlami said the gunmen attacked the church with explosives, leaving an undisclosed number of worshippers dead. It’s still premature to say exactly how many people were killed. But many worshippers lost their lives while others were injured in the attack, she told AFP. A witness, who gave his name as Abayomi, told AFP at least 20 worshippers had died in the attack. I was passing through the area when I heard a loud explosion and gunshots inside the church, he said. He said he saw at least five gunmen on the church premises before he ran away for safety. Gun and bomb attacks are rare in Ondo state, but Nigeria’s military is battling a 12-year-old jihadist insurgency in the northeast, kidnapping gangs in the northwest and separatist agitation in the southeast.