Mass shooting at church in Nigeria: dozens dead, says local lawmaker

Attackers stormed into the church in the city of Owo and began “sporadically firing,” Adeyemi Olayemi, the legislator representing the Owo constituency in the Ondo State House of Assembly, told CNN.

At least 28 people were killed, Olayemi said.

“The attackers came on motorcycles and started firing sporadically,” he said. “They killed a lot of people in the church.”

Victims are being taken to the Federal Medical Center in Owo, Olayemi said.

State police could not confirm the total number of victims in the St. Francis Catholic Church, a police spokesman told CNN, nor could they identify those behind the attack.

Ondo state governor Arakunrin Akeredolu said he was “shocked” by the attack, calling it a “black Sunday in Owo”.

“I am deeply saddened by the unprovoked attack and murder of innocent people of Owo, who worship in the St. Francis Catholic Church, today,” he said on Twitter, adding that “the despicable and satanic attack is a calculated attack to the peace-loving people of Owo Kingdom who have enjoyed relative peace over the years.”

The governor promised “to use all available resources to track down these attackers and make them pay.”

“We will never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in our determination to rid our state of criminals,” he continued, asking the public to “don’t take the laws in their hands.”

“I urge our people to remain calm and vigilant. Do not take the laws in your hands. I have spoken with the heads of the security services. I have also been assured that security agents would be deployed to restore normalcy in the Owo kingdom to control and restore,” Akeredolu wrote.

Fatal attacks by motorcycle gangs are rare in southwestern Nigeria. Such attacks are rife in parts of the north of the country, which is under constant siege by Boko Haram terrorists and marauding gunmen known locally as “bandits.”
The attack on the church in Owo comes a week after another church tragedy that left 31 people dead and others injured in a stampede at a church event in the southeastern Nigerian city of Port Harcourt.

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