Gunmen opened fire plus detonated explosives killing a large number of people an attack on a Catholic church in southwestern Nigeria.
The violence began as worshippers gathered at the St Francis Catholic Church in Ondo state on Sunday. One of the dead were many kids.
Adelegbe Timileyin, who represents the town of Owo where the attack took place, said at least 50 people were killed.
“ Our hearts are weighty, ” Ondo Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said. “ Our peace and tranquility have already been attacked by the enemies from the people. ”
A doctor at a hospital in Owo said no less than 50 bodies had been moved to Owo’s Federal Medical Center and St Louis Catholic Hospital.
Professionals did not immediately release an official death toll. No group claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack.
Video clips appearing to be from the scene from the attack showed church worshippers lying in pools of blood while people close to them wailed.
Owo is 345km (215 miles) east of Nigeria’s largest city of Lagos.
“ In the history of Owo, we have never experienced such an ugly incident, ” said lawmaker Ogunmolasuyi Oluwole. “ This is too much. ”
‘ Nauseating and satanic’
Akeredolu said he was heading back to the state from the capital Abuja after the “ unprovoked attack and eliminating of innocent people of Owo”.
“ We shall commit every single available resource to search for these assailants and make them pay, ” he said in a statement, calling the assault “ vile plus satanic”.
Whilst much of Nigeria has fought with security issues, Ondo is widely known as one of the country’s most peaceful states.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the “ heinous killing of worshippers”.
“ Only fiends from the nether region could have conceived and carried out such dastardly act. No matter what, this country shall certainly not give in to evil and wicked people, and night will never overcome light. Nigeria will eventually win, ” the president said in the statement.
The particular Vatican said Pope Francis was praying for the sufferers of the attack who were “ painfully stricken in a instant of celebration”.
State police spokeswoman Ibukun Odunlami said the loss of life toll was still unclear. “ It’s still early to say exactly how many people were killed. But many worshippers dropped their lives while others had been injured in the attack. ”
Africa’s many populous country has observed attacks and kidnappings pertaining to ransom by armed gangs, mostly in its northwest. Such attacks are rare in southern Nigeria.
The Catholic authority in the state denied the bishop and priests had been abducted as reports suggested on social media.
“ It is so sad that while the Holy Mass was taking place, unknown gunmen attacked Saint Francis Catholic Church … leaving many feared dead and many others injured and the Chapel violated, ” said Reverend Augustine Ikwu, Catholic Cathedral spokesman in Nigeria.
Ikwu said the particular bishop and priests in the parish survived the strike unharmed.