One of the survivors of the senseless massacre at the St. Philip Catholic Church in Ozubulu, Anambra State, Stephen Ohamadike, has recalled how the gunmen stormed the church and killed many of the innocent worshippers.
Ohamadike who spoke with Vanguard Newspaper said that the gunmen entered the church around 6.45 am as worshippers were about to begin ‘prayer of the faithful’.
Narrating how the incident happened, Ohamadike said:
“Those of us who were to say the prayers of the faithful had just assembled at the altar and I had number two, which meant that I was to say the prayer for Nigeria.
Suddenly, I saw someone who was putting on a cap shooting indiscriminately inside the church. There was pandemonium and in the midst of the confusion, I just lay down on the floor.
The officiating priest and the Mass servers quickly left the altar and the Mass came to an abrupt end.
I counted 11 dead people and many who were wounded. I used the vehicle belonging to Pa Ikegwuonu to take him and his wife and others to Evans Hospital where the doctors advised us to go to the teaching hospital.
I used the car to convey many other people to the hospital before I came back to Amakwa.”
According to other eyewitnesses, trouble started for worshippers during the 6 am Mass when the gunmen rode into the church in a Lexus SUV, while one of them entered the church and shot at close range an elderly man who was later identified as Pa Ikegwuonu, while others remained in the vehicle outside.
It was learned that after killing the old man, the gunman opened fire on other worshippers as those who tried to flee were cut down by the gunmen outside the church.
Pa Ikegwuonu who was said to be the father of Chief Aloysius Ikegwuonu who built and donated the church to the Nnewi Diocese, while his wife was also on the right arm and is still on admission at an undisclosed hospital.
It was gathered that the gunmen were looking for his Chief Aloysius following an alleged drug deal in South Africa where he reportedly duped his business partners and fled with the money to Nigeria.
It was gathered that he had returned to the village on Saturday with the aim of holding a Thanksgiving service in the church the next day but left later in the day.
According to a source, the gunmen had thought he was in the church after they saw his car driving in, not knowing it was the father who drove the vehicle and in their anger after realizing that they had missed their target, decided to kill the father and other worshippers.