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11 killed in gun attack on Nigerian Catholic church


Richii Anayo Nwobasi via Facebook | Fair Use

Zelda Caldwell - published on 08/07/17 - updated on 08/07/17

Authorities do not believe attack was motivated by terrorism.

Police in Nigeria report that at least 11 people have been killed and up to 18 wounded in a gun attack on a Catholic church in southern Nigeria, according to a BBC report.

News accounts conflict as to whether the attack on St. Philip’s Catholic Church in Ozubulu was carried out by a group of men or by a lone gunman.

The BBC reports that Anambra State Police Commissioner Garba Umar believes the attack stemmed from a local feud involving a gunman who had been hired to kill a man who was believed to be at the church.

Other witnesses said several gunmen shot a man inside the church and the opened fire on the congregation, according to a report.

Authorities do not believe the attack was perpetrated by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram, and no group has claimed responsibility.

Police Commissioner Umar told the BBC that he believed the attack was carried out a local man: “From our findings, it is very clear that the person who carried the attack must be an indigene of the area.”

Pope Francis today offered his “heartfelt condolences” to the Nigerians affected by the attack.

Rev. Hygi Aghaulor, Director of Communications of the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Anambra, offered prayers for the victims and described the attack as an “ungodly act.”

“It is regrettable that our people are more and more losing a sense of what is sacred,” he wrote in a statement.

“What on earth would make people open fire on innocent unarmed worshipers including children and women on a Sunday morning?” he said.

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