A local legislator told CNN on Monday that attackers at St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo had killed “about 50 people, including children,” in “occasional shootings.”
“The death toll is huge,” said Ademi Olemi, a legislator representing the Owo constituency in the Ondo state legislature. “So far we have counted 50 dead bodies, including children. I have seen the bodies of many children.”
“The attackers came on motorcycles and started firing from time to time … they killed many people inside the church,” Olemi added.
Light Ajanaku lost both his parents in a horrific attack.
“At first we heard it was an explosion and then we panicked and started calling everyone for information,” Ajanaku told CNN on Monday.
“Someone had my dad’s phone. I still do not know who that person was. That person came and said my dad was injured and admitted to the hospital, but he knew nothing about my mom’s location. Then my dad said he did not do that. Finally we contacted a priest friend. , He confirmed that my mother was also dead. “
Ajanaku said the bodies of his parents were later identified in the morgue. He said his father, John Adesina Ajanaku, 67, and mother, Olabimbe Susana, 64, never missed church on Sunday.
“They never missed Mass. My father was a warrior and leader of the Catholic Men’s organization. He was very religious and a theologian. I have no doubt in my mind that they would have at least seen the attack, but I did not. I knew they would be very vulnerable,” Ajanku said as the church filled. Can hold about 500 people.
State police could not confirm the total number of casualties, a police spokesman told CNN Sunday, or they could not yet identify those behind the attack.
A police report quoted a preliminary investigation as saying, “Assamese approached the church during worship, started firing from outside the church, and about four others shot directly inside the church.”
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Agredolu said he was “shocked” by the attack and called it “Black Sunday in Owo.”
Ajanaku said that even in death, his parents were always together. He said it was not surprising that they died together and that one could not live without the other.