Rev Father Andrew Abayomi, a priest at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, Owo, Ondo State, has narrated how the church was attacked by terrorists on Sunday.
The cleric stated this while speaking with BBC Yoruba.
He said, “We were about to round off service. I had even asked people to start leaving, then we started hearing gunshots coming 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 the victims to the hospital.”
The cleric described the incident as evil.
The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ondo, Most Reverend Jude Arogundade, had condemned the gruesome killing of members of the church.
The cleric, in a statement signed by Rev. Fr. Augustine Ikwu, Director, Social Communications and obtained by SaharaReporters on Sunday, said, “It is Pentecost Sunday when every Catholic is expected to be in Church to commemorate the Solemnity.
“It is so sad to say that while the Holy Mass was going on, unknown gunmen attacked St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, leaving many feared dead and many others injured and the Church violated. The identities of the perpetrators remain unknown while the situation has left the community devastated.
“However, for now, security agencies have been deployed to the community to relatively handle the situation. At this point in the history of our dear country Nigeria, we need God’s ultimate intervention to restore peace and tranquillity.
“Meanwhile, all the Priests and Bishop in the parish are safe and non was kidnapped as the social media has it. Nonetheless, let us continue to pray for them and the good people of Owo and the state at large.
“We turn to God to console the families of those whose lives were lost to this distressing incident, and we pray for the departed souls to rest in peace. Amen.”
The state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who had earlier reacted to the attack, said, “It is a black Sunday in Owo. Our hearts are heavy. Our peace and tranquillity have been attacked by the enemies of the people. This is a personal loss, an attack on our dear state. I have spoken to the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ondo, Most Reverend Jude Arogundade, who is presently on his way to Owo. Similarly, I have had to cut short my party’s national assignment in Abuja and visit Owo immediately.”
SaharaReporters had reported the attack by terrorists on the church in the Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State, with many people killed.