At least 50 people were killed and others injured after gunmen attacked a Catholic church in Nigeria‘s Ondo state during mass on Sunday, a doctor and local media reported.
A doctor at a hospital in Owo, a town in the state in Nigeria’s southwest, told Reuters that no fewer than 50 bodies had been moved to the FMC (Federal Medical Center) in Owo and to St. Louis Catholic Hospital.
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President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the attack, calling it “heinous.” The identity and motive of the attackers was not immediately clear.
Local media said gunmen had fired at worshippers and detonated explosives at the church. Those killed included women and children.
Funmilayo Ibukun Odunlami, police spokesperson for Ondo state, said only that there had been an incident at the Saint Francis Catholic Church in Owo and said police would issue a further statement soon.
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Africa’s most populous country has witnessed attacks and kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs, mostly in its northwest. Such attacks are rare in southwestern Nigeria.
Ondo state governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu cut short a trip to the capital Abuja and returned to Ondo after the attack. “We shall commit every available resource to hunt down these assailants and make them pay,” he said in a statement.
(Reporting by Fikayo Owoeye in Lagos, MacDonald Dzirutwe, Camillus Eboh and Felix Onuah in Abuja; Editing by Catherine Evans and David Holmes)