Funeral mass held for victims of massacre at church in Nigeria


Among those who paid respect to the 40 people who died was Laide Ajanaku whose parents John Adesina Ajanaku, 67, and mother Olabimpe Susanah, 64, were killed when a group of gunmen stormed the congregation during a Pentecost mass at St. Francis Catholic Church. in Owo, Southwestern Nigeria.

There is a discrepancy in the numbers given to the media by authorities, with local lawmaker Adeyemi Olayemi telling CNN that nearly 50 people died in the shooting after the attackers entered on motorcycles.

Ajanaku told CNN she counted 39 photos in a tribute booklet made for the victims at the funeral mass.

A list of injured people also showed that 74 people were being treated in hospital for “various degrees of injuries,” according to the booklet.

“There are 31 with photos and 8 empty boxes for some of the victims,” ​​she told the agency’s CNN.

“Some Igbo people brought their dead back to the southeast of the country. I’m still not sure how many dead there are,” she said.

Ajanaku added that the priest paid tribute to the victims, including a two-year-old and a 65-year-old.

Laide described the mood as “gloomy” in the packed room, adding that some distraught relatives rolled on the floor and some were crying in the room.

Ondo state governor Rotimi Akeredolu and a former state governor Olusegun Mimiko were among the dignitaries who attended the mass.
After the shooting, Pope Francis has prayed for the victims who were “painfully attacked during a celebration,” a Vatican statement said.

Fatal attacks by motorcycle gangs are rare in southwestern Nigeria. Such attacks are rife in much of the north of the country, which is under constant siege by Boko Haram terrorists and marauding gunmen known locally as ‘bandits’.
The attack on the church in Owo came after another tragedy at the church, in which 31 people were killed and others injured in a stampede at a church event in the southeastern Nigerian city of Port Harcourt.

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