AFRICA/NIGERIA - Ondo state authorities announce the arrest of suspects in the Pentecost massacre

Friday, 24 June 2022 persecutions   massacres   justice  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "We will not stop until we have shed full light on this crime and I assure you that the perpetrators and their sponsors will be arrested", said Adetunji Adeleye, commander of the agency of the Ondo State Security Network, known as the 'Amotekun Corps', the police in Ondo State, South West Nigeria, announcing the arrest of some suspects in connection with the massacre of Sunday June 5 in the Catholic Church of St. Francis Xavier in Owo (see Fides 6/6/2022). At least 40 people lost their lives in the massacre and 70 others were injured. The Ondo state police chief did not give the number of those arrested but assured that all those responsible for the massacre would be brought to justice. "We have recovered the last vehicle used in the operation and have made a few arrests. We have recovered the weapons used in the massacre which will be useful in the investigation," Adeleye said, confirming that the assailants arrived at the scene of the massacre on motorcycles and that before leaving, they had stolen a car in which part of the men of the commando had fled. The police commander did not specify whether those arrested belonged to the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), the Nigerian branch of ISIS, which has been accused by the federal government of responsible for the Owo Church Massacre. A claim disputed by the Governor of Ondo State that there is no evidence in this regard. On Sunday, June 19, two churches, one Catholic and the other Methodist, were attacked in Ungwan Aku, Kajuru local government area, Kaduna state (see Fides, 20/6/2022). President Muhammadu Buhari said attacks on churches and worshipers are unacceptable. In a statement signed by the President's spokesman, Garba Shehu, Buhari said it was clear that there was a plan to put the country under religious tension. President Buhari said freedom and religious diversity is what makes Nigeria great and called on Nigerians, Christians and Muslims, to pray for national peace and harmony. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 24/6/2022)