10/08/2022

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Nigeria: Sadness, anger in Owo following deadly church attack

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After sadness and fear, it is anger that has emerged in Owo town, southwest Nigeria, following a deadly church attack in the country’s relatively peaceful region.

Women marched in protest outside the traditional palace of Owo on Tuesday.

Some of them chanted to Ogun, the deity of iron, calling for revenge against those responsible for the attack in the St. Francis Catholic Church.

We are here as market women, Yemi Mahmud said, we are here to commiserate with the people of Owo, we are to say that enough is enough, we have a parlance in Owo, we say that  “We don’t have war in Owo” it has never happened, we don’t have war in Owo, Owo is a peaceful place but this has happened now, it’s strange to us.

It’s an entire community that is still traumatized by the murder of at least 22 people including children.

If President Buhari ordered a full-scale investigation, the Ondo Police Command has not made any arrests yet. According to a spokeswoman, there was at least 5 assailants.

Escalation of violence

Schools and public gathering spots remained closed in Owo Tuesday. The Owo kingdom’s monarch, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye, brought together ethnic leaders for discussions as he expressed his fears the violence could escalate further.

Owo’s monarch, warned of a humanitarian crisis should the internal conflict expand further into southern Nigeria and force millions of people to flee.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with 206 million people, has grappled for more than a decade with an insurgency in the northeast by the Islamic extremist rebels of Boko Haram and its offshoot, the Islamic State West Africa Province.

Armed gunmen have also plagued the country’s northeastern and northwestern regions.