Ozubulu Worshipers Massacre: The Story and Phone call by Muhammadu Buhari

Sunday 7th August, 2017 was a Black Day for the people of Ozubulu, the headquarter of Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State whe...


Sunday 7th August, 2017 was a Black Day for the people of Ozubulu, the headquarter of Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State when gunmen stormed the Saint Philip Catholic Church at about 6am during the Morning Mass Celebration, shooting sporadically on worshipers which lead to the death and injury of many.
An eye witness who pleaded anonymity disclosed to Don.ng that the killers initially visited the residence of Chief Aloysius Ikegwuonu, popularly known as Bishop Ebubechukwuzo 1 of Ozubulu but on meeting his absence, the gunmen immediately drove to the Catholic Church close to his house in bid for searching him. Also meeting his absence at the church, the gunmen released series of fire on innocent worships.
Further finding by Don.ng landed our correspondent to the door of a worshiper at the St. Philip Catholic Church; Loveth Gift who witnessed the scene of the event, she described the gunmen as hoodlums wearing Army Uniform.
We all were in the church during the 6am Morning Mass today, we saw two cars that drove into the church; because it was a Church premises we never suspected them, we thought they were worshipers. But to the surprise of everyone, the car stopped at the gate in a way that it prevents closing of the church gate.

Suddenly, some men came out from the car, fully armed and all wearing military uniforms. I was lucky because I was sitting at the back, just beside the door, but I was clearly seeing what was happening.

The gunmen rushed into the Church through the front door.  I heard the sound of gunshots inside the church. So, I ran out of the building. The armed men presence at the front gate prevented people from using it as escape route.  Most women were unable to escape because using the alternative escape means is quite difficult for them. That was the reason why lot of women were killed in the massacre. Children were killed as well, many were seriously injured.
After I successfully escaped the crime scene, I attempted several calls to know the situation with other worshipers in the church but no respond by them”. 

Also, another eyewitness and victim of the incident narrated her experience of the event to DON.ng in this tone,

All I could remember is that, I was sitting at the front when some people in Army uniform invaded the Church and shot at everyone at their sight. I luckily hide under the seat but was shot in the leg.
A boy was shot on his head; his brain erupted and his bloods spilled everywhere, even on my face.
Reacting to the invasion, the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Anambra State has described the Sunday’s attack on worshippers by gunmen as irresponsible.
In a press statement signed by Rev. Hygi Aughaulor, the Director of Communications of the Diocese indicated that Rev Fr. Onwuaso Jude, the Parish Priest of Saint Philip Catholic Church, Ozubulu escaped uninjured. He described the invasion as an attempt by the forces of darkness to overshadow the light of God; He further assured the worshipers that they will triumph in every situation. Read him:
What on earth would make people open fire on innocent unarmed worshippers including children and women on a Sunday morning?
We condemn this ungodly act in its totality; we pray Almighty God to console the families affected and assure them that our hearts are with them as we pray for the quick recovery of the wounded.
For the entire parishioners, we call on them not to be discouraged in their usual practice of faith.
It is when the forces of darkness attempt to overshadow goodness that the light of God shines even brighter than ever just as it happened on Easter Sunday.
Evil may make attempts but God and goodness will always triumph; we call on the good people to continue to pray for the deceased worshippers and their families
Meanwhile, in a news conference at Awka on Sunday, the Commissioner of Police, Anambra state, Mr Garba Umar assured the people that the police would leave no stone unturned to bring the attackers to justice. He gave the updated figures of casualties as 11 dead and 18 injured.  The commissioner further ruled out the possibility of a terror attack, and spoke about an isolated feud between individuals in the community. He said that the police had invited some suspects who would be very useful to the investigation. Umar also assure the people of Anambra State that the place is safe for normal activities. He said:
At about 6.30 a.m. today, Aug. 6, I got a distress call that gunmen had invaded and shot at worshippers at St. Philips Catholic Church, Umuezekwe, Ofufe, Amakwa Village in Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area.
As a result I, the Commissioner of Police, led my operatives immediately to the scene to rescue worshippers.
The command, under my watch, will leave no stone unturned in locating and prosecuting those behind the massacre of innocent worshippers.
The intelligence report and preliminary investigation showed that the incident was as a result of a feud between two individuals from the same community living outside Nigeria.
One of the individuals built the church where the shooting occurred; it is definitely not a terrorist attack in the mould of Boko Haram or Fulani herdsmen attack. “The command will brief the public after investigation is concluded; I commiserate with all those who lost their loved ones in this unfortunate incident. “I also encourage `ndi’ Anambra to be vigilant and to promptly report suspicious movements or strange observation of persons and actions in their localities to the security agencies.

Several reactions and condolence message had reached the desk of Don.ng over the Sunday’s Attack. Among them is the telephone call by His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari who has been out the country for medical treatment for over 80 days.

Earlier, through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Malam Garba Shehu, the President condemned the attack, describing the incident as
“an appalling crime against humanity and unspeakable sacrilege”. In the statement, the President said that “there was no justification whatsoever to target Church worshippers and kill them in cold blood.’’


Also, Shehu confirmed that the President had a telephone conversation with Gov. Obiano where he commiserated with him, families of the victims as well as the people of the state. He said:

“The President has just finished speaking to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, in the course of which he commiserated with him, the famines of the victims and the citizens of the state over the tragic shooting incident this morning.’’

Sympathising with the victims, Andy Oba called off his campaign and he had this to say:
This is an eye-opener that we need a better and effective administrative system that can adequately take care of security challenges and youth unemployment in the state,” Senator Uba stated while insisting Obiano is not capable of steering the security operation of the state in the right direction.
We must not allow such to continue, our people cannot be allowed to be snatched by the cold hands of death due to the activities of recalcitrant members of our society", he added.
The distinguished senator visited the victims at Access Specialist Hospital, Maternity Ozubulu and Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital Nnewi. He expressed deep shock and added that such incident must not be allowed to gain ground in Anambra state.

In effort to investigate the current position of the police on the invasion, Don.ng put a telephone call through to the Police Public Relation Officer of Anambra State, ASP Nkeiruka Nwode on Monday 7th August, 2017 at about 1:21 pm and she said no further discovery had been made for now but the dead bodies has been taken to the mortuary. She assured Don.ng that the command will relate any findings as soon as one is discovered.

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DON.NG - News and Entertainment: Ozubulu Worshipers Massacre: The Story and Phone call by Muhammadu Buhari
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