At least 12 people killed in shooting attack on Nigerian Catholic church

Anambra governor, Willie Obiano has said the shooting at St Philip's Catholic church in Ozubulu was caused by a feud between two brothers from the community who live overseas.

An eyewitness said that scores of worshipers were killed when gunmen entered the church during the 5.45 a.m. mass, identified a particular man and shot him.

Confirming the attack in Awka, state Commissioner of Police, Mr Garba Umar, said that the remains of the dead had been deposited at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi, while the injured were taken to the hospital.

He expressed worry that the incident was tragic as innocent people were attacked over a drug war concerning two overseas based Ozubulu brothers.

Chukwuma Emeka said he had just stepped out of the church to stretch his legs "when I heard gunshots and screaming and people running inside".

Up to 18 other worshippers were wounded in the early morning incident at the church in Ozubulu near the city of Onitsha.

Anambra Governor Willie Obiano visited the attack site and condemned it as "dastardly".

According to the priest, an unidentified man came into the Church, shot at a man, Akunwafor Ikegwuonwu, before shooting sporadically at other worshippers.

Initially, the police in Anambra state confirmed that only one gunman killed eight worshippers and injured 18 others in the attack.

Attacks on churches are rare in southern Nigeria, where there is a predominantly Christian population. Witnesses said they feared that up to 20 people may have died.

Garba Umar, the Anambra State police chief, said the violence was tied to a feud within the local community. "I pray that God grants the soul of the departed eternal rest as I urge the security agents to fish out the perpetrators and make them face the law".

"From our findings the act was carried out by a native of the area", he said.

  • Rogelio Becker