World · June 18, 2022

Nigeria: funeral for victims of Owo church attack celebrated

Among those who paid tribute to the 40 people who died was Laide Ajanaku whose parents John Adesina Ajanaku, 67, and mother Olabimpe Susanah, 64, were killed when a group of gunmen stormed the city. congregation during a Pentecost mass at the Catholic Church of St. Francis in Owo, southwestern Nigeria.

There was a discrepancy in the figures given to the media by the authorities, with local lawmaker Adeyemi Olayemi telling CNN that nearly 50 people died in the shooting after the attackers got on motorcycles.

Ajanaku told CNN he counted 39 images in a tribute booklet created for victims at the funeral mass.

A list of injured also showed 74 people being treated in the hospital for “injuries of varying degrees,” according to the pamphlet.

“There are 31 with pictures and 8 empty slots for some of the victims,” ​​he told CNN from the service.

“Some Igbo have reported their dead in the south-east of the country. I’m still not sure how many died,” she said.

Ajanaku added that the priest paid tribute to the victims including a two-year-old boy and a 65-year-old.

Laide described the atmosphere as “gloomy” in the crowded hall adding that some distressed relatives were rolling on the ground and some crying in the hall. “

The governor of the state of Ondo, Rotimi Akeredolu, and a former governor of the state, Olusegun Mimiko, were among the dignitaries present at the mass.
After the shooting, Pope Francis prayed for the victims who were “painfully attacked in a moment of celebration,” a Vatican statement read.

Lethal attacks by motorcycle gangs are rare in southwestern Nigeria. Such attacks are most prevalent in much of the north of the country, which is constantly besieged by Boko Haram terrorists and armed raiders known locally as “bandits”.
The attack on Owo’s church came after another church tragedy when 31 people were killed and others injured during a stampede during a church event in the southeastern Nigerian town of Port Harcourt.