By Abdul Tukur
Details of an attack where 11 people were killed during an early morning mass at the Saint Philips Catholic Church in Ozubulu, Anambra State yesterday, are beginning to emerge.
A twitter user Ichie Boyz @isinmiri, who was tweeting from Ihembosi, a place close to the shooting, explained that the attack which left 18 other worshipers injured was a “beef that started in SA between a guy called Bishop and his drug members’ years back.
According to @isinmiri, Aloysius Ikegwuonu, aka Bishop, the intended target for the attack was the man who built the Catholic Church where the the attack occurred at 6am on Sunday, 6 August. Bishop, formerly based in South Africa apparently “made away with their money.”
Bishop was to mark his 36th birthday with a thanksgiving and a opening of another church.
@Isinmiri stated that “Word to aggrieved party that he was meant to hold a thanksgiving service at the church, and as normal, they came for him.
“Being the man that he is, Bishop didn’t show up for the thanksgiving service. but his dad & other members of his extended family did.”
He said it was not “terrorist related” and “the people that died today at St. Philips Amakwa Ozubulu, were innocent people caught in a chain of events they had no knowledge about, adding that he father of the target was among those who died.
One of the most senior officer in the area confirmed that the shooting was “definitely not a terrorist attack in the mould of Boko Haram of Fulani herdsmen attack.”
Garba Umar, the state’s police commissioner noted that the attack was drug-related, at a news conference. The gun men were said to be two individuals from the same community who now live abroad.
Mr Umar who promised to locate the perpetrators of the attack stated that the “command, under my watch, will leave no stone unturned in locating and prosecuting those behind the massacre of innocent worshippers,” he said.
“The intelligence report and preliminary investigation showed that the incident was as a result of a feud between two individuals from the same community living outside Nigeria.
“One of the individuals built the church where the shooting occurred; it is definitely not a terrorist attack in the mould of Boko Haram or Fulani herdsmen attack.
“The command will brief the public after investigation is concluded; I commiserate with all those who lost their loved ones in this unfortunate incident.
“I also encourage `ndi’ Anambra to be vigilant and to promptly report suspicious movements or strange observation of persons and actions in their localities to the security agencies.”
The Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano, who visited the scene immediately said the attack was unacceptable and has promised not to rest until all perpetrators are arrested.
He also promised to foot the bill for funerals and hospital treatments for survivors.
President Muhammadu Buhari, also condemned the attack, describing it as “an appalling crime against humanity and unspeakable sacrilege.”
Similarly the Senate President Bukola Saraki, denounced the attack on “innocent and unsuspecting worshipers.”
He challenged the security forces, saying they “must not stop until the perpetrators of today’s Anambra massacre are brought to justice.”