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The country’s north is largely Muslim, whereas the south is predominantly Christian.
During the Pentecost service on Sunday, gunmen stormed a church in the Nigerian city of Owo. The governor speaks of a “heinous” attack, although it is unknown who is behind it.
On Pentecost Sunday, dozens of people were slain in an attack on a Catholic church in southwestern Nigeria.
According to the Ondo-State government, the attack occurred during Sunday services at St. Francis Church in Owo.
According to a local resident, a group of unknown gunmen rushed the church and fired indiscriminately at those attending the ceremony.
According to media sources, the attack apparently included the use of explosives.
So far, the actual number of victims is unknown. The Ondo-State government did not release any information on the number of people killed.
According to a state legislator reported in the online magazine Persons’s Gazette, 28 people were slain.
Some local media outlets, such as the Nigerian Tribune, reported 50 deaths.
Ondo-State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu called the attack “heinous and demonic,” saying it was a deliberate attack on the peaceful people of Owo.
A video purporting to show the scene has gone viral on social media. It depicts obviously dead individuals, including children, laying on the ground covered in blood.
No group has claimed credit for the attack so far. Locals believe the attack was carried out by militants from northern Nigeria.
In recent years, jihadist organizations have carried out numerous attacks on churches in Nigeria’s predominately Muslim north.
This is the first time a church has been attacked in the primarily Christian south.
Religious conflicts, particularly between Muslims and Christians, are a regular occurrence in the West African country of 206 million people.