At least 12 people lost their lives after a group of unidentified militants stormed a church in southeast Nigeria and went on a shooting spree.
The mass shooting occurred at the St. Philip's Catholic Church in Ozubulu town in southeastern state of Anambra at about 05:45 local time on Sunday, when worshipers had convened in the building.
"So far, 12 persons have been confirmed dead and deposited in the mortuary here while several persons are receiving medical attention," said a staff worker at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital in Nnewi, where the victims were admitted.
Witnesses said that at least five masked assailants were involved in the massacre. But Anambra State Police Commissioner Garba Umar stated that the deadly incident had been caused by a lone gunman, who "went on a shooting spree, killing and wounding" worshipers.
The gunmen, witnesses further said, first separated a group of worshipers from the rest and started executing them with gunfire. They added that the assailants then changed their minds and started shooting at the remaining 100 people in the church.
"When the chaos subsided I went inside, I saw my fellow church members dead in a pool of their own blood and many others were screaming in pain," said Chukwuma Emeka, a witness.
Security personnel were said to have cordoned off the area and launch an investigation into the incident.
No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, but such incidents are usually blamed on the Takfiri Boko Haram terrorist group, which is particularly active in the country's northeast region.
The terror outfits, which is an ally of Daesh [the Arabic acronym for the Takfiri ‘ISIS/ISIL' terrorist group], claimed responsibility for a number of deadly terror attacks in Nigeria since the beginning of its militancy in 2009, which has so far claimed the lives of at least 20,000 people and made more than 2.7 million displaced, triggering a dire humanitarian crisis in the region.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team