Anambra Church killings: Death toll rises to 12, Man loses 3 family members

The Sunday attack on the St. Phillip’s Catholic Church in Ozubulu, Anambra State, has left many families bereaved in the state, while a large number of Nigerians on Monday continued to express their displeasure.

The death toll has risen to 12 on Monday, while those injured climbed to 40 from 18.

The state Governor, Willie Obiano, in a Monday broadcast, described the attack as a gang war “imported into the Anambra State from abroad.”

One of the families affected is the Obunadikes, whose member, Joel Obunadike, lamented the death of three members.

He told one of our correspondents that his sister-in-law, the baby girl she was nursing, and his uncle lost their lives in the attack.

Obunadike said, “I lost my uncle and my brother’s wife, as well as her baby girl.  My brother’s wife was cuddling the baby when a bullet pierced through her back. The bullet killed her and the baby.

“We are still in shock. That’s all I can say for now.”

Also, it was gathered that one of the wives of the slain father of bishop (Aloysius Ikegwuonu, the alleged drug baron), Mrs. Caroline Ikegwuonu, was hit and had been admitted to a hospital in the area.

When The PUNCH sought her comment, she said, “Please I can’t talk now. I’m still in shock. Please leave me alone.”

Another victim, Samuel Ndulue, whose legs were shattered in the attack, said, “I was in the church, but before the sermon started, I heard a gunshot that sounded like a banger.

“When I looked up I saw one man with a gun.  I tried to escape from the east end of the church; but before I could do so, my two legs were shattered by bullets.

“I was later told that the gunman jumped into a vehicle after accomplishing his mission. I can’t understand the reason for the attack,’’ Ndulue stated.

A nurse at the Accident and Emergency Unit of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, who spoke to one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, said four of the injured persons brought to the hospital on Sunday died on Monday while six had been referred to another hospital.

She said,” Four of them couldn’t make it, including a baby. Twenty two injured persons are still with us and they are responding to treatment,” the nurse added.

The Public Relations Officer of NAUTH, Chris Ngige, also told The PUNCH on Monday that 20 of the victims were on admission in the hospital, adding that four corpses had been deposited in the hopsital’s morgue.

He said, “The four that we have in our mortuary died on the way to the hospital yesterday (Sunday). There are many mortuaries in Nnewi, so the remaining corpses could have been deposited in them.

“We also have 20 other victims who have been admitted to our hospital. They are in a stable condition and they are responding to treatment.”

The Chairman of the Ekwisigo Local Government Area, Mr. Ikenna Ofodeme, said the casualty toll of the attack had increased.

He said, “The death toll has risen from 11 to 12, while the number of those who sustained injuries had gone up from 18 to 40.”

He said 27 victims were still receiving treatment at NAUTH.

The state governor, in a radio and television broadcast, said such an attack would not happen in the state again.

He said, “We are dealing with a gang war that has spilled over to Anambra State from another African country. But this is the last time it will happen under my watch.

“With a sorrowful heart, I stand before you today to brief you on the tragic killing of 12 people at St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Amakwa, Ozubulu, on Sunday.

“First, I want to assure you all that what happened in Ozubulu was a tragic dimension of a long battle between two business partners who are from the same town.

“I have been fully informed that this dangerous conflict has been going on for a while in the country where they both live outside Nigeria before they decided to bring the conflict home. But let me assure you that Anambra is too hot for them to operate.”

He urged the residents to go about their normal business, adding, “What happened in Amakwa, Ozubulu, is an isolated case. It will not happen again.”

The Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Garba Umar, told our correspondent on the telephone that the command had made some arrests in respect of the attack.

He said, “We won’t give the number of persons arrested in order not to jeopardize our investigation.”

Source: ( Punch Newspaper )