There were conflicting casualty figures Sunday following gunmen attack on a Catholic Church in Ozubulu, Anambra State. Deaths ranging from 10 to 25 were reported, but the Police were not forthcoming with the exact figure, yet several injured were ferried to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital in Awka for treatment.
The attackers were believed to be on the trail of their target suspected to be a worshiper in the Saint Philip’s Catholic Church.
Police suspect that failing to find their target, the gunmen however went berserk, and embarked on a shooting binge.
Police sources were quoted as saying that the attackers were believed to have been trying to kill a local man.
“The gunmen came thinking that their target was in the church but incidentally he was not,” according to the source, adding that the violence may be linked to drug business gone awry.
As at Sunday night, the police were yet to make any arrests, although detectives were said to be sniffing around for leads.
Nigeria’s southeast is predominantly Christian and the attack is a rare act of violence at a church.
Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano was reported to have postulated that the attack might have stemmed from a feud between members of the local community who were living outside Nigeria.
“We are not going to relent until we bring those that perpetrated this heinous crime to book,” he said.
Nigeria is wracked by insecurity, with Islamist insurgency Boko Haram having killed more than 20,000 people since 2009, sparking one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises.
Ethnically-charged violence is common throughout the central states and militancy is a constant threat in the oil-rich southeast.