At least 50 people are dead, including women and children, after a group of gunmen attacked a Catholic church in southwest Nigeria on Sunday, according to reports.
The incident unfolded at St. Francis Catholic Church in the town of Owo, according to Reuters. The gunmen shot people both inside and outside the church, killing and injuring worshippers, Reuters reported, citing police spokesperson for Ondo state, Funmilayo Ibukun Odunlami.
— Reuters (@Reuters) June 6, 2022
Adeyemi Olayemi, a legislator representing Owo in the Ondo State House, told CNN the “attackers came in motorcycles and started shooting sporadically.”
“They killed many people inside the church,” Olayemi reportedly said. (RELATED: NPR Claims An AR-15 Is Capable Of Beheading People, Here’s What Experts Had To Say)
Ondo state Gov. Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu described the scene as “a great massacre,” according to Reuters. He also condemned the attack in a tweet.
“What happened today is tragic. No better way to qualify it. It is the most tragic event! Horrific! What we have seen in America is a child play to what has happened here. That it happened in a church, to say the least, is most condemnable. I feel terribly sad.”
What happened today is tragic. No better way to qualify it. It is the most tragic event! Horrific! What we have seen in America is a child play to what has happened here. That it happened in a church, to say the least, is most condemnable. I feel terribly sad. pic.twitter.com/f2NVh1tzZZ
— Arakunrin Akeredolu (@RotimiAkeredolu) June 5, 2022
Catholic Church spokesman in Nigeria, Reverend Augustine Ikwu, reportedly said the church was “violated.”
“It is so sad that while the Holy Mass was going on, unknown gunmen attacked St. Francis Catholic Church … leaving many feared dead and many others injured and the Church violated.”
The attack is unprecedented in southwest Nigeria, as motorcycle gangs carry out attacks mainly in the north, according to CNN. The north is under attack by Boko Haram terrorists, according to CNN.