The police in Anambra state on Sunday confirmed that only one gunman killed eight worshippers and injured 18 others in an early morning attack on St. Philip Catholic Church, Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area.
Earlier reports had said the killings were done by gunmen, with rumours that some Boko Haram elements carried out the attack.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Garba Umar dismissed the rumour and said the attack was carried out by a lone wolf gunman, who is an indigene of the area.
Umar told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka that the remains of the dead had been deposited at Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi.
Umar also said that the injured had been taken to the hospital.
He said that preliminary investigations by the police revealed that the attack was carried out by an indigene of the area.
“From our findings, it is very clear that the person who carried the attack must be an indigene of the area.
“We gathered that worshippers for 6 o’clock Sunday mass at St. Philip Ozobulu were in the service when a gunman dressed in black attire covering his face with a cap entered the church and moved straight to a particular direction and opened fire.
“The man after shooting at his targeted victims still went on a shooting spree, killing and wounding other worshippers,’’ he said.
The commissioner said information available to police showed that the attacker was speaking undiluted Igbo Language at the time he was firing at worshippers.
Umar said though no arrest had been made, the police already learnt that the attack followed a quarrel between two natives of Ozubulu residing overseas.
Describing the act as sacrilegious, the commissioner of police said it was wrong for the perpetrators of the act to extend their quarrel into the church.
He added: “such conduct shows the people behind the act do not fear God.’’
He said the police had launched a manhunt on those behind the act and gave an assurance that everybody behind the act would be brought to justice.
He said the police were on top of the situation.’’
*Full statement of the Police:
The state’s Commissioner of Police, CP Garba Umar has warned that the command will leave no stone unturned in fishing out the shooters at St Philip’s Catholic Church Amakwa Ozubul.
Unknown gunmen had today Sunday, 6th August 2017 entered the church, while the mass was going on and shot at worshipers.
Following a distress call, men of the police force rushed there and are presently rescuing the worshippers.
The hospital authority has confirmed 8 persons dead,and 18 injured. The command assures ndi Anambra that the police is on top of the situation and will fish out the perpetrators soon.
Intelligence report/Preliminary investigation proved that it is a fight between the two sons of the community living outside Nigeria that caused the incident,because one of them built the church which the incident happened. It is sacrilegious but for now,is still premature to disclose the identities, we will brief the public after investigation is concluded.
Commissioner Umar commiserates with all those who lost their loved ones the act and pledges that the command would not rest on its oars until perpetrators are brought to book.
However, citizens are advised to be vigilant and report suspicions movements and actions in their locality.
Asp NWODE NKEIRUKA
PPRO ANAMBRA STATE POLICE COMMAND