Islamic terrorists bombed St Francis Catholici Church Owo in Ondo State last Sunday, 5 June 2022, federal officials said yesterday.

Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola specifically accused the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) for the attack.

He told reporters that federal investigators found evidence linking the church bombing and massacre to the terrorist group.

Terrorists stormed the Church after a regular Sunday mass and began shooting at worshippers about to return to their homes.

They also exploded a bomb, all of which led to the death of over 40 people, with dozens wounded.

Minister Aregbesola said police will now go after the bombers and bring them to justice. Police Inspector General, Alkali Baba Usman, flanked the Minister during the briefing.

“The (Security) Council is quite concerned about the violent attack in Owo, Ondo State.

“We have been able to locate the imprints of the perpetrators of that attack. From all indications, we are zeroing in on the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP).

“It is not an ethno-religious thing. The ISWAP members, wanting attention and recognition, are suspected to have carried out that attack. We have directed all the agencies concerned to go after them and bring them to justice.” 

Groups knock Govt for inaction

Several groups have since Sunday blamed government for treating terrorist attackers with kid-gloves.

The Middle Belt Forum (MBF), for instance, says government knows where the terrorists are hiding but refuses to go after them.

MBF President, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, made the argument yesterday as well.

“If Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi could visit their location, then, the government knows where they are. The government has intelligence more than any single individual. The fact that the government has not destroyed them means that the government is complicit in all of these,” he said.

Citizens are not interested in who carried out the Owo bombing but want government to address the problem of terrorism, Bitrus said. He urged the authorities to “do something about arresting the ugly trend of bloodshed in the country.” 

Afenifere, a Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, lamented that Yorubaland is now “infiltrated and surrounded by armed militias.”

Spokesperson of the Group, Jare Ajayi, said acts of terrorism continue nationwide because Government treats suspected terrorists “with kid glove.”

The separatist group, Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide said Aregbesola’s admission vindicates its position that Fulani terrorists carried out the Owo attack.

Its leader, Prof Banji Akintoye said in a statement that government should outlaw Fulani herders in Ondo State. Communication Secretary of the Group, Maxwell Adeleye, released the statement in Ibadan yesterday.

“The declaration of the Nigerian Government that ISWAP was responsible for the Owo Massacre is a vindication of our earlier position…”

“We, therefore, reinstate our earlier position that the government of Ondo state should declare an emergency on the activities of Fulani herders in Ondo state.

He demanded that Ondo state government profile Fulani herders while flushing out those in the bushes.

Islamic terrorists bombed Owo Catholic Church says FG