Damilola Aina, Abuja
Daily Courier – Over 40 people have been reportedly killed in an attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, in Owo town, Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State.
It was learnt that the incident happened in the church, which is less than 200 meters away from the Palace of Olowo of Owo.
Workers at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, confirmed that many people were brought in dead on Sunday.
The attack was carried out during the Sunday mass.
News of the attack surfaced when a viral online video showed some worshippers being killed and lying on the floor of the church in the pool of their own blood.
One of the health workers on duty at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, where the casualties were taken to said over 50 people had been brought to the hospital.
He said, “They are still bringing people to the hospital, some have been confirmed dead while some are still breathing. But for now, I can’t specify the number of those dead.”
A source in the palace told our correspondent that there is tension and panic in the area.
He said, “The church that was attacked was at the back of the palace and we are still wondering how gunmen could carry out such an attack at the centre of the town. This is unbelievable. Kabiyesi will soon issue a statement on the incident.”
Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs Funmilayo Odunlami, said the command was yet to ascertain the cause of the incident.
“The CP (Commissioner of Police) is on his way to the scene to ascertain the cause of the incident. We have been hearing so many things about it but I will get back to you.”
However, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has expressed deep sadness over what he calls an unprovoked attack and killing of innocent people of Owo, worshiping at the St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street.
In his reaction to the tragic event, Governor Akeredolu said the vile and satanic attack is a calculated assault on the peace-loving people of Owo Kingdom who have enjoyed relative peace over the years.
It is a black Sunday in Owo. Our hearts are heavy. Our peace and tranquility have been attacked by the enemies of the people. This is a personal loss, an attack on our dear state.
“I have spoken to the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ondo, Most Reverend Jude Arogundade, who is presently on his way to Owo. Similarly, I have had to cut short my party’s national assignment in Abuja and visit Owo immediately.
“This is an unexpected development. I am shocked to say the least. Nevertheless, We shall commit every available resource to hunt down these assailants and make them pay. We shall never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in our resolves to rid our state of criminals.
“I commiserate with my people in Owo, particularly families of the those who lost their lives to this ugly and unfortunate attack. I extend my condolences to Olowo of Owo, Oba Gbadegesin Ogunoye as well as the Catholic Church,” Akeredolu stated.