THE Nigeria Police Force has said the attackers of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo state disguised as church members.
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, also condemned the brutal killings and ordered for investigation.
In a statement by Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the force said a preliminary investigation showed the attackers used arms and explosives.
The attack was carried out by yet-to-be-identified gunmen.
“The gunmen, from preliminary investigations, invaded the church with arms and materials suspected to be explosives.
“Police Investigators who were part of the First Responders deployed to the scene have recovered pellets of expended AK-47 ammunition while the Explosive Ordnance Devices – Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Explosives (EOD-CBRNE) unit confirmed the use of Explosives as fragments of the IEDs used were found and after thorough sweeping of the scene, three unexploded IEDs were recovered at the scene of the incident,” the statement said.
The Police said further investigations revealed that some of the gunmen disguised as congregants. At the same time, other armed men who had positioned themselves around the church premises from different directions fired into the church.
“The assailants fled the scene using a Nissan Sunny car with Reg No. AKR 895 AG, which was snatched from the owner and escaped through Owo/Ute road. The vehicle has been recovered while the vehicle owner currently assisting the Police in its investigations,” the statement added.
According to Adejobi, the IGP has ordered full-scale investigations into the incident to bring to book the perpetrators of the gruesome killing of the worshippers at the church.
The IGP has further ordered the deployment of specialised operatives of the Police EOD-CBRNE, police experts, and other tactical units from the Force Headquarters for a comprehensive investigation and for immediate interception of the attackers.
Many worshippers were feared dead after an attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, in Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State.
The attack happened on the church premises while mass was ongoing on Sunday.
Footage seen by The ICIR showed gory images of dead people, including children and women.