The newspapers for Monday August 7, 2017 focus on the killing of some worshippers at St Philip’s Catholic church, Amakwa Ozubulu in Ekwusigo local government area of Anambra state.
Magnificent St Paul’s Catholic Church Ozubulu
Condemnation has continued to trail a gun attack on St Philips Catholic Church in Anambra state which left about 47 persons dead.
Victims of the attack
The Guardian reports the attack has been condemned by many prominent Nigerians including Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state among others.
Gov Obiano visits some victims in the hospital
According to the newspaper, the attack which occurred on Sunday morning, August 6, during early morning mass surprised the Ozubulu community.
The attacker and his motive are yet unknown but indigenes of the Ozubulu community who spoke to The Guardian said the priest survived the attack, which they suspected was triggered by a gang war originating from South Africa.
A source in the community told the Guardian that the attacker had been on the trail of a famous philanthropist and alleged drug baron in the area, whom he reportedly traced to the church the latter built for the community.
The source added that the gunman had stormed the church in search of Ikegwuonwu after visiting his house, but was not lucky as his target had fled on getting wind of the presence of the attacker.
Infuriated by the miss, the attacker reportedly targeted Ikegwonwu’s father and stepmother, whom he killed alongside 45 other worshipers.
The Nation newspaper reports that the gunman who carried out the attack was dressed in black.
The newspaper stated that the Anambra state commissioner of police, Garba Baba Umar, said 11 persons were killed and 18 injured.
He said some people in the community had been invited for interrogation.
The police commissioner said preliminary investigation revealed that the attack was carried out by people from the area and not by Boko Haram as being speculated in some quarters.
He said: “From our findings, it is very clear that the person who carried out 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 gunmen dressed in black attire, covering their faces with fez caps, entered the church and moved straight to a particular direction and opened fire.
“The men, after shooting at their targeted victim, still went on a shooting spree, killing and wounding other worshippers.’’
Reporting on how the attack occurred, the Vanguard newspaper stated that trouble started for worshippers who were in church for the 6.am mass, when at about 6.45am, the gunmen rode into the church in a Lexus SUV, as one of them entered the church and shot at close range an elderly man, later identified as Pa Ikegwuonu, while others remained in the vehicle outside.
An eye-witness told Vanguard that after killing the old man, the gunman opened fire on other worshippers, as those who tried to flee were cut down by the gunmen outside the church.
Meanwhile, many Nigerians have condemned the violence and called for justice for the victims.
This Day reports that among the early commentators who said the perpetrators must be brought to book instantly were Senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki; speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara; Anambra state governor, Willie Obiano; Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige; and president of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle.
Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, condemned the killings and called on security agencies to ensure that the perpetrator and their collaborators were apprehended and made to face the full wrath of the law.