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Eye witness account of the killings at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owa-Luwa street, Owo.

On Sunday, 5th June at the Saint Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, Owo, the headquarters of the Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State there was chaos as gunmen in guise of worshippers attacked the church.

The attack on the church in Owo, the hometown of the state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, came barely a week after the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Bishop Samuel Kanu-Uche, was kidnapped in Abia State by gunmen the priest later identified as Fulani youths.

It was learnt that the gunmen, who attacked the Catholic church, arrived at the premises, which is less than 200 metres from the palace of the Olowo of Owo, at 12pm when the Sunday mass was being rounded off.

Freedom Square TV gathered that worshippers, mostly children and women, were killed in the attack, by gunmen, who were said to have thrown an improvised explosive device before they started shooting sporadically.

A gory sight of a 37-second video posted online showed some of the slain worshippers in a pool of blood.

As at 8:30pm the state police command was still compiling the casualty figure. Also, the church and the state government did not specify the casualty figure. The number of casualties are still unspecified.
But according to Reuters and Voice of America reported on Sunday that over 50 people were killed in the attack.
According to one Olabamiji, an eye witness who happens to be a resident of the area. The gunmen came in guise as worshippers.

According to him, immediately they entered the church premises, they threw an IED before shooting the congregants.

Olabamiji said;

 “We saw them. They didn’t cover their faces. Initially, we thought that they were going into the church for the service, not knowing that they were gunmen. Suddenly, we heard gunshots. They directed the gun at everyone, particularly women and children.

“While the attack lasted, we did not see any security operative to confront the gunmen. We could not even count their number because everybody had to run for safety.”
was going home, when they struck, it was like a war front”

Another eye witness who identified herself as Mary Williams, disclosed that she narrowly escaped the attack.
Williams said she attended the service but was outside when the attackers arrived and started shooting indiscriminately killing many worshippers.

Mary Williams said;

“The mass ended and I got out to be going home. I was beside the fence of the church when suddenly I heard those sporadic gunshots. Initially, I thought they were armed robbers trying to rob somebody but I later discovered that the heavy sounds of gunshots were inside the church.

“I jumped into a gutter where I hid. It was like we were on a war front the way the gunmen were shooting for about 15minutes. My legs were injured and I was taken to the hospital and discharged.”

According to Rev. father Andrew Abayomi who happens to be the officiating priest at the church said that the attackers stormed the church when the mass was almost ended.

Abayomi said, “We were about to round off the service. I had even asked people to start leaving when we started hearing gunshots from different angles.

“We hid inside the church, but some people had left when the attack happened. We locked ourselves in the church for 20 minutes. When we heard that they had left, we opened the church and rushed victims to hospitals.”

A health worker on duty at the FMC, Owo, said over 50 people were brought to the hospital, adding that some were dead already while some were still alive.

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