Church massacre in southern Nigeria leaves 13 dead

An early morning shooting spree on Aug. 6 at a Catholic church in Ozubulu, Anambra State in southern Nigeria has left 13 parishioners dead and several others wounded, according to police.

(WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / Nwabu2010)Anambra Government House. May 2009.

Police commissioner Garba Umar initially said a lone gunman launched an attack at St. Philip Catholic Church on Sunday. However, parishioner Uche Nonoso told The Associated Press that at least two people were responsible for the massacre.

There are a number of reports that talk about who could be responsible for the shooting spree at the St. Philip Catholic Church, but so far, Boko Haram does not appear to be one of them. Although the group has torched down hundreds of churches in Nigeria in the last 10 years, authorities do not think the terror group has anything to do with the latest attack. Nevertheless, police have reportedly arrested several suspects.

Meanwhile, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has issued a statement via Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Malam Garba Shehu condemning the church attack and calling it "an appalling crime against humanity and unspeakable sacrilege." He said the act of entering a church and killing parishioners in cold blood cannot be justified by any means, Vanguard Nigeria relayed.

In addition, President Buhari said such an attack is the kind that "plumbs the depth of depravity and extreme cruelty of the kind that words cannot adequately express." He called on all Nigerian citizens to voice out their opposition to the people responsible for the massacre, saying all kinds of faith constantly highlight the sanctity of human life.

President Buhari also expressed sympathy with those left behind by the victims of the church massacre. He then assured his constituents that his administration will continue to work to protect them and their properties all the time.

Nnewi Diocese communications director Rev. Hygi Aghaulor, meanwhile, said the local community is praying for the parishioners injured in the church attack.