Armed ViolenceNews

Owo Church Massacre: Amotekun Speaks On Arrest Of Suspected Perpetrators

The Director-General of the Ondo State Security Network told HumAngle some suspects have been arrested and a vehicle recovered.

The Ondo State Security Network Agency, one of the branches under Operation Amotekun, a regional security outfit, has confirmed the arrest of suspects said to be connected to the attack on St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Southwest Nigeria

The Director-General of the security outlet, Adetunji Adeleye, confirmed the development to HumAngle in a telephone interview on Thursday, June 23. 

“We have arrested some suspects in connection to the incidents. We also recovered some weapons and the vehicle they used to run away,” he said. 

He, however, did not give details, including the number of persons arrested, assuring that a full report would be made available to the press at the appropriate time. 

HumAngle reported that terrorists killed dozens of people at the church on the morning of Sunday, June 5, during a morning mass. Videos that surfaced soon after the attack showed many of the deceased victims lying on the floor in a pool of blood.

Many others sustained severe injuries and were taken to the Federal Medical Centre in Owo for treatment. 

The Catholic Diocese of Ondo said that the incident has left the community devastated.

While the Federal Government said the attack was likely carried out by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Rotimi Akeredolu, the Governor of Ondo argued that the conclusion was too hasty. 

HumAngle understands that the Owo attack was the first incident linked to ISWAP in the Southwest and it appears to be part of a new trend of attacks outside the terror group’s stronghold of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe in northeastern Nigeria.

HumAngle has previously reported a series of attacks, including the use of improvised explosive devices in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Taraba as well as Kogi in the north-central region. 

The terror group attacked police officers in Kogi and then Suleja in the north-central state of Niger. The group has also claimed responsibility for attacks in Kaduna and Gombe. 

Owo is not far from Kabba in Kogi State, an area which, according to multiple sources, is used by ISWAP as a transit camp.

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Adejumo Kabir

Kabir works at HumAngle as the Editor of Southern Operations. He is interested in community development reporting, human rights, social justice, and press freedom. He was a finalist in the student category of the African Fact-checking Award in 2018, a 2019 recipient of the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence, and a 2020 recipient of the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award. He was also nominated in the journalism category of The Future Awards Africa in 2020. He has been selected for various fellowships, including the 2020 Civic Media Lab Criminal Justice Reporting Fellowship and 2022 International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) 'In The Name of Religion' Fellowship.

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