At least eight people have been killed at St Phillip’s Catholic Church in Ozubulu, a town in Ekwusigo local government area of Anambra State, yesterday.
A witness said some gunmen, who concealed his identity, broke into the church around 6am when the first mass service was holding.
According to a witness, the attacker after gaining entry into the church, identified a particular man whom he shot.
The source reportedly said some worshippers who were critically injured died on their way to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital in Nnewi, the state capital.
Security personnel have cordoned off the church, which has since been deserted by worshippers.
Governor of the state, Willie Obiano and Commissioner of Police in Anambra, Garba Umar, have visited the scene of the attack.
According to Obiano, preliminary investigation has shown that the shooting at the church was caused by a feud between two brothers from the community who live abroad.
“This is sacrilegious, totally unacceptable in Anambra State. We can’t allow this happen in Anambra, we must get everyone involved to face the music,” the governor was quoted to have said.
Obiano visited Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi where the injured are being treated, thanking over 50 doctors who were on ground looking after the injured.
The governor assured their families that all medical bills will be taken care of by the state government.
Meanwhile, the Anambra State government has put the number of those killed in the attack at 11.
In a statement issued after the incident, media aide of the governor, Ifeanyi Aniagoh, said Obiano vowed that the culprits would be brought to justice.
“The Ozubulu community in Ekwusigo local government area of Anambra state was this morning thrown into mourning as a gun man walked into St Philip’s Catholic Church and started shooting sporadically, killing 11 and injuring 18 persons,” he said.
Speaking at the scene of the incident, the state CP dismissed the insinuation that the Boko Haram sect carried out the attack.
He said investigation showed that the attacker spoke in Igbo dialect while shooting his victims stressing that the attack was carried out by a native of the area.
He added that the remains of the dead had been deposited at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.
“From our findings, it is very clear that the person who carried the attack must be an indigene of the area,” he said.
“The man after shooting at his targeted victims still went on a shooting spree, killing and wounding other worshippers.”
“Information available to police showed that the attacker was speaking Igbo at the time he was firing at worshippers.”
Umar said though no arrest had been made; the police already learnt that the attack followed a quarrel between two natives of Ozubulu residing overseas.
Meanwhile, social media report claimed that the attack was a spill over of a drug related feud, between two Ozubulu brothers who live in South Africa.
The main matter was said to be between Chief Aloy Ikegwuonu a.k.a Bishop (rumored to be a drug baron), and another Ozubulu man popularly known as Obrocho.
It was gathered that the gunmen had traced Ikegwuonu to his house, but were told he had gone to church where he was meant to hold a thanksgiving service.
According to reports, the battle had claimed some lives already over there in South Africa.
Saraki condoles victims’ families, wants perpetrators brought to book
The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has expressed deep sadness over the massacre that occurred at St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Anambra State, yesterday.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki stated that the killing of worshippers represents the purest kind of evil, and the security services must not stop until the perpetrators are brought to justice.
“Today, my heart goes out to Nigeria’s Christian community, Governor Willy Obiano, the people of Anambra State, and the families of the victims and the survivors of this terrible massacre,” the Senate President said, “This brutal act of attacking innocent and unsuspecting worshippers represents the purest kind of evil.
“Our security forces must not stop until everyone involved in the orchestration and execution of today’s massacre in St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Anambra are brought to book by the strong arm of justice.
“The Senate will continue to offer any form of necessary assistance in this endeavour, because today, all of us, as Nigerians have been attacked by this senseless act committed by evil people”, Saraki stated.
He further urged security agencies in the country to step their intelligence gathering activities so as to prevent activities of criminals and also unravel any crime committed against Nigerians by undesirable elements in the society.