In light of the growing Christian persecution in Nigeria, Sisters of St. Louis Sr., Agnes Adeluyi, recounted the horror that happened in Owo.
Adeluyi remembered the church shooting tragedy that happened on June 5.
According to a report by Global Sisters Report, an explosive was detonated outside St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. Four gunmen then marched through the doors, shooting worshippers and detonating another explosive.
The deaths added up to a total of 41 parishioners, old and young.
According to Adeluyi, she was in the chapel for Eucharistic adoration when the two explosions happened. She and the nuns were informed of the massacre and were told to take shelter.
Afterward, she and her team of nurses went to the hospital and labored to save the survivors, most of whom were covered in fatal gunshot wounds.
Adeluyi stated that they have heard of such incidents happening within the region, but to experience it themselves was devastating.
Since then, the terror attack has implanted fear and has affected the religious ministries in Owo.
More than Blocking the Spread of Christian Faith
According to a report by OpenDoors, half of Nigeria's 211.5 million population are Christians, which means there are over 98 million of them.
Auxiliary Bishop John Bakeni of Maiduguri stated that most Christian persecution happens in the northern part of the country. Residents there have been dealing with the maiming and killing of their loved ones, as well as the destruction of their property solely because of their faith.
The threat, however, has been spreading and has reached the south.
Bakeni attributes the terror attacks to a strong attempt to discourage and stop the spread of Christianity.
Indeed, it is. But it's also more than that.
In a report by Abouna, Fr. Mussie Zerai, founder of the NGO Habeshia, said the church shooting and other terrorist attacks may be a way to send a message to the Catholic Church not to take sides in political issues.
However, he believes that the real motive behind the persecution is for the perpetrators to obtain economic power.
Meanwhile, the director of Dominicans for Justice and Peace, Fr. Aniedi Okure, stated that the aim of the oppressors is to throw Christians into war so it would be seen as a religious war.
He also attributed the persecution to security challenges in the country.
He stated that criminals are riding on the country's inability to address incidents such as suicide bombings, mass shootings, kidnappings, and the burning of churches. With this, he called on President Muhammadu Buhari and his government to immediately face the problem head-on.
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More Accounts of Blood at the House of God
Apart from Adeluyi, 74-year-old Bade Salau also recounted his experience.
On the day of the massacre, Salau stated that they had to lie down under the pews for safety.
He referred to the experience as horrifying as 10 of his family members were also caught up in the shooting. Meanwhile, Salau was shot in his chest and cheeks.
Fr. Andrew Abayomi also shared his experience during the church shooting.
According to Abayomi, the Mass had just ended and he had given his final blessing when they heard the deafening sound of an explosive and saw that gunshots had begun to rain on the church.
He stated that some brave members helped him go into hiding before the attackers could get to him. Together with some of the members and children, they hid inside the inner part of the church for about 20 minutes until they were assured that the attackers had left.
The day of the massacre became known as "Black Sunday" in Owo.
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