Perilous Time: Gunmen Stormed St Philips Catholic Church Killing About 12 Worshippers

Victims of gunshot at St Philips Catholic Church

Terror was unleashed on a Catholic church in Anambra State (Southeast Nigeria) on Sunday where there were multitude of worshippers. Twelve worshippers were shot dead. The reason for the killing is yet to be made clear. Reports claimed it was due to a local feud.

At around 6:00 am (0500 GMT) at least one gunman opened fire at St. Philip’s church in Ozubulu, near the city of Onitsha, unleashing terror on the congregation.

One of the members of the church by the name Chukwuemeka says that during service he just stepped out to stretch out his leg. While outside he had some gunshots, noises and people running inside the church. He said when the chaos subsided, he went inside and saw his fellow members lying in the pool of blood and some others screaming in pain. 

Some of the lifeless bodies of the St Philips Catholic  Church Ozubulu, Anambra State  Worshippers shot dead 

We have been seeing different kinds of attacks on churches in the northern part of Nigeria, Since the violent campaign of Boko Haram jihardist against Christians and religious centers. 

Attacks on churches are rare in southern Nigeria, where there is a predominantly Christian population.

There were varying accounts of what happened in Ozubulu. Witnesses said five gunmen in masks stormed the church, but police said the killing was the work of a lone shooter.

“So far, 12 persons have been confirmed dead and deposited in the mortuary here,” a worker at Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital told AFP.

Several worshippers with gunshot wounds were also receiving treatment at the hospital, the source said. Witnesses said they feared that up to 20 people may have died.

Garba Umar, Anambra State police Commissioner, said the attacker was a gunman who “went on a shooting spree, killing and wounding” worshippers.

He said the violence was the result of a failed murder attempt, tied to a feud within the local community.

“The information at the disposal of the police is that the gunman had been hired to kill a particular family person believed to be among the worshippers,” he said.

Local rights activist Emeka Umeagbalasi said his information about the motive largely concurred with that of the police version.

The gunmen had gone to kill the son of a local chief but failed to find him at his home, Umeagbalasi said.

The attackers then went to the church to hunt for him, but could not find the intended target and became angry, he said.

They opened “fire on parishioners and shot indiscriminately,” he said, adding that the father of the intended target was shot and wounded.

Worshippers killed in St. Philips Catholic Church, in Anambra by a gunman

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