Pope Francis expresses compassion after church attack in Nigeria

pope francis with his back turned

Antoine Mekary | I.Media

I.Media for Aleteia –  06/05/22

Dozens of the faithful – including many children – were massacred during a Sunday morning Mass in Owo, Ondo State, South West Nigeria

Pope Francis “prays for the victims” of the June 5, 2022 attack on a church in Ondo State, Nigeria, during the celebration of Pentecost, according to a statement issued by the Holy See Press Office. The massacre occurred in a southwestern region of the country that is usually relatively free of violence.

The communiqué mentions “the death of dozens of faithful, including many children.” “Pope Francis prays for the victims and for the country, painfully affected in a moment of celebration, and entrusts them to the Lord, that he may send his Spirit to console them,” it said.

Heavily armed men with explosives and firearms attacked a Catholic church in Ondo State in southwestern Nigeria, according to the government and police.

The attack occurred during morning mass at St. Francis Catholic Church in the southwestern Nigerian town of Owo, which is usually spared from jihadists and criminal gangs active in other parts of the country, AFP reported. The attack has not been claimed and the human toll is not yet known, but the victims are numerous.

President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the “heinous murder of worshippers.” Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu in his statement called on the security forces to track down the assailants after the “despicable and satanic attack.”

The assailants are believed to be fulani herdsmen. They kill without remorse. They invaded another Catholic church in Benue state few years back while morning Mass was in session and killed about twenty worshippers. The government has yet to bring them to heel, possibly because President Muhammadu Buhari is of the fulani ethnic stock.

Nigeria is a country plagued by insecurity on several fronts. A jihadist insurgency has been raging for 12 years in the northeast, gangs of looters and kidnappers terrorize the northwest and central regions, while the southeast is the scene of separatist movements.

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