At least 50 dead after gunmen attack worshippers at church in Nigeria

Local media said gunmen had fired at worshippers and detonated explosives at the church. Those killed included women and children.

A BOY walk past the Apostolic church in Bodo, Nigeria (photo credit: REUTERS)
A BOY walk past the Apostolic church in Bodo, Nigeria
(photo credit: REUTERS)

At least 50 people were killed and others injured after gunmen attacked a Catholic church in Nigeria's Ondo state during mass on Sunday, a doctor and local media reported.

A doctor at a hospital in Owo, a town in the state in Nigeria's southwest, told Reuters that no fewer than 50 bodies had been moved to the FMC (Federal Medical Center) in Owo and to St. Louis Catholic Hospital.

Comments on the attack

President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the attack, calling it "heinous." The identity and motive of the attackers were not immediately clear.

Local media said gunmen had fired at worshippers and detonated explosives at the church. Those killed included women and children.

Funmilayo Ibukun Odunlami, police spokesperson for Ondo state, said only that there had been an incident at the Saint Francis Catholic Church in Owo and said police would issue a further statement soon.

 Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres address a news conference in Abuja, Nigeria May 4, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/ABRAHAM ACHIRGA) Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres address a news conference in Abuja, Nigeria May 4, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/ABRAHAM ACHIRGA)

Africa's most populous country has witnessed attacks and kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs, mostly in its northwest. Such attacks are rare in southwestern Nigeria.

Ondo state governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu cut short a trip to the capital Abuja and returned to Ondo after the attack. "We shall commit every available resource to hunt down these assailants and make them pay," he said in a statement.

"We shall commit every available resource to hunt down these assailants and make them pay."

Ondo state governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu