A local lawmaker told CNN on Monday that “nearly 50 people, including children” were killed after assailants burst into St. Francis Catholic Church in the town of Owo and began “sporadically shooting “.
“The death toll was quite significant,” said Adeyemi Olayemi, the lawmaker representing Owo constituency in the Ondo State Assembly. “So far we have counted almost 50 dead bodies, including children. I have seen the bodies of many children.”
Olayemi added that “the attackers came on motorbikes and started shooting sporadically…they killed many people inside the church.”
Ugly Ajanaku lost both of his parents in the horrific attack.
“We heard it was an explosion at first, then we started panicking and calling everyone for information,” Ajanaku told CNN on Monday.
“Someone had my dad’s phone. I still don’t know who that person was. The person picked up and said my dad had been injured and was taken to hospital, but he didn’t know anything about it. where my mother was. He later said that my father had not survived. We finally managed to reach a priest friend who confirmed that my mother had also died.
Ajanaku said his parents’ bodies were later identified at the morgue. Her father John Adesina Ajanaku, 67, and mother Olabimpe Susanah, 64, never missed church on a Sunday, she said.
“They never missed mass. My father was a knight and president of the Catholic Men Organization. He was very religious and doctrinal. There was no doubt in my mind that they had at least witnessed the attack, but I I didn’t know they would be so affected,” Ajanaku said, adding that the church can hold around 500 people when full.
State police could not confirm the total number of casualties, a police spokesperson told CNN on Sunday, nor could they identify those responsible for the attack.
A police statement said “the attackers approached the church during the service, began firing from outside the church while others numbering about four fired directly into the church. ‘church’, citing a preliminary inquiry.
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said he was “shocked” by the attack and called it “Black Sunday in Owo”.
Ajanaku said his parents were still together, even in death. She said she wasn’t surprised they died together, as one couldn’t live without the other.