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As Many As 70 Dead In Attack At Nigerian Church — Here’s The 411

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Possibly as many as 70 people have been slaughtered in a brazen attack on a Nigerian Church service… including women and children.

It should have been a typical Sunday morning in which local Roman Catholics gathered for regular worship and prayer. Unfortunately, Pentecost Sunday morning this year was anything but ‘typical’.

Gunmen opened fire on worshippers and detonated explosives at a Catholic church in the city of Owo in southwestern Nigeria on Sunday, leaving dozens feared dead, state lawmakers said.

The attackers targeted the St. Francis Catholic Church in Ondo state just as the worshippers gathered on Pentecost Sunday. Many children were among the dead, legislator Ogunmolasuyi Oluwole said.

Authorities did not immediately release an official death toll.

A doctor at a hospital in Owo told Reuters that at least 50 bodies had been brought in to two hospitals in the town from the attack. The doctor, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the press, also said there was a need for blood donations to treat the injured.–CBC

It didn’t stop at murder, either. Some were abducted, as so often has happened to Christians at the hands of terrorists in Nigeria.

The terrorists attacked the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo state, at about 9 a.m., church leaders and residents told Morning Star News (MSN) in text messages shortly after the attack.

A priest at the church, Andrew Abayomi, told MSN that as the worship service was coming to an end, the terrorists threw explosive devices and shot at worshipers.

“We were in worship Mass when the terrorists attacked us. They shot at the congregation while breaking into the church by throwing improvised explosive devices at the church building,” Abayomi said. “Some of us hid inside the church as they shot randomly at us. This lasted for about 20 minutes before they retreated.”

…Among other Owo residents, Loye Owolemi said about 70 worshipers were shot dead and others abducted when terrorists attacked the church service. —ChristianityToday

Here is a video that was taken inside the Church after the attack in which some of the aftermath can be seen. There is a lot of blood on the floor, and the area behind the altar is smashed to pieces. An eyeweitness gives his account of what happened in that video.

This news interview shows similar scenes, but shows less blood than the one above.

One of the parishioners recounted these details:

Also narrating how the attack was carried out, a church member, Kehinde Ogunkorode, told Vanguard that about five gunmen stormed the church during service and shot members.

Ogunkorode said: “It was like a movie; they invaded the church and shot indiscriminately. Several people were killed, including children and women. It was when they wanted to abduct the priest that they threw dynamite into the church.” — AllAfrica

As usual in the chaos of such events, eyewitnesses to the same event can have very different recollections. Another witness believed there may have been as many as 10 gunmen.

Another eyewitness, Ikechukwu Eze, told THISDAY that, “Immediately I heard gunshots, I smartly escaped through the fence. The gunmen were up to 10 in number,” adding that, security men, who later came to the scene of the incident were chased away by the angry people. —ThisDay

The specific perpetrators were not identified or apprehended. But it is believed that authorities may know who they are and what precipitated this attack on a part of Nigeria seldom visited by the anti-Christian violence so prevalent in other parts of the country.

Local news reports connected the attack to recent events:

Meanwhile, the lawmaker representing Owo, Constituency II in the House of Assembly, Olayemi Adeyemi, alleged yesterday that those who attacked St Francis Catholic Church were armed herdsmen of Fulani extraction.

Adeyemi, who spoke to newsmen in Owo, said: “The gunmen invaded the religious premises with explosives which they detonated before opening live rounds on members while church service was ongoing. “The attack was a reprisal aimed at sending a message to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu who chased away violent Fulani pastoralists from the area.

“Locals around the church premises saw the attackers who were on the run after unleashing the horrific act on the church. They were armed herdsmen of Fulani extraction, a tribe accused of spear-heading insecurity across the country.” — AllAfrica

Psalms of War: Prayers That Literally Kick Ass is a collection, from the book of Psalms, regarding how David rolled in prayer. I bet you haven’t heard these read, prayed, or sung in church against our formidable enemies — and therein lies the Church’s problem. We’re not using the spiritual weapons God gave us to waylay the powers of darkness. It might be time to dust them off and offer ‘em up if you’re truly concerned about the state of Christ’s Church and of our nation.

Also included in this book, Psalms of War, are reproductions of the author’s original art from his Biblical Badass Series of oil paintings.

This is a great gift for the prayer warriors. Real. Raw. Relevant.

Wes Walker

Wes Walker is the author of "Blueprint For a Government that Doesn't Suck". He has been lighting up since its inception in July of 2012. Follow on twitter: @Republicanuck