Citizens in Ondo State weep as church members of St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, were massacred by unknown gunmen during service.
The painful incident occurred yesterday, the 5th of June, while members were still in church. According to reports from one of the clergy at Francis Catholic Church, Rev Father Andrew Abayomi, the church was just about to round off service by 12pm for the day when the gunmen stormed the place. Some members were already dismissed and left even before the gunmen attacked.
The Reverend further revealed that they locked the doors as soon as they heard the gunshots and hid. However, there were still some members who were still out leaving the church. The gunmen opened fire and over 50 deaths and casualties were later recorded.
The Reverend said they only opened the doors after the gunshots stopped and quickly rushed several injured members to the hospital. Many women and children were caught in the attack.
A video posted online showed some of the slain worshippers in a pool of blood. By the time military officials arrived, the church was already covered in dead bodies. The perpetrators fled right after the attack.
One of the survivors identified as Mary Williams said she barely escaped the attack.
“The mass ended and I got out to be going home. I was beside the fence of the church when suddenly I heard those sporadic gunshots. Initially, I thought they were armed robbers trying to rob somebody but I later discovered that the heavy sounds of gunshots were inside the church.
“I jumped into a gutter where I hid. It was like we were on a war front the way the gunmen were shooting for about 15minutes. My legs were injured and I was taken to the hospital and discharged.”
While the identities of the gunmen are yet to be disclosed, many in the media suspect the attack to have come from Fulani herdsmen.