Two and a half months after 40 Catholic Massgoers were gunned down in an attack in Nigeria, authorities there have announced that they have arrested a number of suspects.
According to the authorities, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) was responsible for the Owo church massacre, according to Fides, the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies.
Chief of Defense Staff General Leo Irabor said on Tuesday that the suspects were arrested during joint operations involving the armed forces, the Department of Security Services and police.
Irabor also announced the capture on August 7 in Aiyetorosi, in the state of Ondo, of Idris Ojo, a high-ranking member of ISWAP, Fides reported. “Ojo was planning more deadly attacks and perfected those plans with his accomplices before he was captured,” the chief of defense staff said. “In due course the world will see who is behind other attacks in the country.”
The June 5 attack, during a Mass for Pentecost Sunday at St. Francis Xavier Church in Owo, in Ondo state, also left some 80 people injured.
ISWAP has been behind an insurgency in northeastern Nigeria. The attack in Owo, in the south of the country, was a worrying sign that their reach was expanding.
Fides reported the names of several suspects arrested, including Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza (aka Bin Malik), Momoh Otohu Abubakar, Aliyu Yusuf Itopa and Auwal Ishaq Onimisi, who were arrested August 1 in Eika, Kogi state, and Al-Qasim Idris and Abdulhaleem Idris, arrested August 9 in Omialafara, Ondo State.