Defence & Security

FG says ISWAP behind Owo Church attack

By Paul Michael, Abuja

• As Police demises speculation of attack on Hausa community

The federal government on Thursday said the attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo state, was orchestrated by members of the terrorist group, Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP).

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, made this known while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the National Security Council (NSC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Aregbesola, who briefed the newsmen alongside the Inspector General of Polic, Usman Alkali Baba, said the police has been ordered to go after the perpetrators of the act and bring them to justice.

ISWAP
ISWAP

He said the imprint of ISWAP has been found on the scene of the attack, adding that they will be brought to justice.

The Minister further added that ISWAP’s aim is to use the attack to divide Nigerians and create an impression of an ethnoreligious war.

Gunmen attacked the church on Sunday, June 5, killing many worshippers and injuring several people.

The gunmen were said to have detonated explosives in the church after which they proceeded to fire several shots at the congregation.

The minister said ISWAP’s aim is to use the attack to divide Nigerians and create an impression of an ethnoreligious war.

Gunmen attacked the church on Sunday, June 5, killing no fewer than 40 worshippers and injuring several people.

The gunmen were said to have detonated explosives in the church after which they proceeded to fire several shots at the congregation.

The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, had described the attack as an “attempt to test the will of the people of the state and indeed, the south-west.”

He added, “At Owo, the anger was palpable. The tension was at an abrasive level just as the urge for reprisals was high.”

“Without doubt too, the ripple impact of this heinous act, as well as the understandably angry reaction across the state, could not have been different. To me, this is an attempt to test the will of the people of the state and indeed, the south-west.”

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on Thursday cautioned against Nigerians relying on Social Media as a source of serious information needs. Stating that the rumoured attack on Hausa community in Sabo is false.

A section of the media had reported that six northerners were killed at midnight of Wednesday, June 8, 2022, as gunmen allegedly invaded the Hausa community of Sabo in Ondo, Ondo West Local Government Area of Ondo State.

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Funmilayo Odunlami, a Superintendent of Police, who is the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), made this dismissal in a statement she signed on behalf of the Commissioner of Police. He described the report as an unhealthy rumour to stir still waters

Odunlami said, “The attention of the Ondo State Police Command has been drawn to a piece of fake news being peddled by some mischief makers to cause panic, tension and strife in the State.

“The Command wishes to state clearly that there was no reprisal attack on the Hausa Community at Sabo area in Ondo town or any part of the state as purported by these warmongers.

“On Tuesday, 7th of June, 2022, there was an attempted robbery on a J5 vehicle with plate no MKA – 469 YJ carrying Onions and Potatoes coming from Zaria enroute Ore, had a stopover at Ondo town and was attacked by men of the underworld around 0110 hrs. In the cause of this attempt, the robbers shot the driver, while the motor-boy escaped with bullet injury, a motorcyclist alongside the pillion and a passerby were also hit by stray bullets.

“It is however disheartening that these peddlers, who are out to achieve no good, did not confirm the story before spreading this falsehood as the victims involved in this failed robbery are from Yoruba, Igbo and Northern extraction.

“Investigation has since commenced and effort is ongoing to arrest the assailants.

“On this note, the Commissioner of Police, Ondo State Command, CP Oyeyemi Adesoye Oyediran, psc, fsi, urged the people of the state to remain calm and disregard the fake news, as the rumour mongers are out to stir unnecessary chaos and disrupt the peace of the State.

Rauf Aregbesola
Rauf Aregbesola

“This is also to warn the peddlers of this fake news to desist as the Command will not fold its arms and let them shatter the peace being enjoyed in the State.”

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