UPDATED: Gunman storms Nigerian church, kills eight, injures others – Police
At least eight people were killed at least one armed man on Sunday stormed the St. Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State, the police have said.
Witnesses initially said the attack was carried out by gunmen, but the police have now clarified it may have been carried out by a lone gunman.
A witness told the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday that the gunmen went into the church during the 5:45 a.m. mass and identified a particular man and shot him.
He said they later went on rampage and shot at the remaining over 100 worshippers.
Several people were killed in the church while other critically injured worshippers died on the way to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.
Speaking on the attack, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Garba Umar, said the remains of the dead had been deposited at theNnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi.
Mr. Umar also said that the injured were taken to the hospital.
He said that preliminary investigations by the police revealed that the attack was carried out by a native of the area.
“From our findings, it is very clear that the person who carried the attack must be an indigene of the area.
“We gathered that worshippers for 6 o’clock Sunday mass at St. Philip Ozobulu were in the service when a gunman dressed in black attire covering his face with a cap entered the church and moved straight to a particular direction and opened fire.
“The man after shooting at his targeted victims still went on a shooting spree, killing and wounding other worshippers,’’ he said.
The commissioner said information available to police showed that the attacker was speaking undiluted Igbo Language at the time he was firing at worshippers.
Mr. Umar said though no arrest had been made but that the police already learnt that the attack followed a quarrel between two natives of Ozubulu residing overseas.
Describing the act as sacrilegious, he said it was wrong for the perpetrators of the act to extend their quarrel into the church.
He added: “such conduct shows the people behind the act do not fear God.’’
He said the police had launched a manhunt on those behind the act and gave an assurance that everybody behind the act would be brought to justice.
Mr. Umar described any insinuation that the attack was carried out by Boko Haram elements as false and urged the people to go about their normal businesses.
He said the police were on top of the situation.