AFRICA/NIGERIA - Attacks on church in Owo: Suspected responsible arrested

Thursday, 11 August 2022 persecutions   local churches   terrorism  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - Two other people suspected of being responsible for the massacre on Pentecost Sunday (June 5) at the Catholic Church of St. Francis Xavier in Owo, state of Ondo (see Fides 6/6/2022) have now been arrested . This was announced yesterday, August 10, by Nigerian Defense Ministry Press Office Chief Maj. Gen. Jimmy Akpor, who gave the names of the suspects as Al-Qasim Idris and Abdulhaleem Idris and confirmed that they were arrested on August 9 in Omialafara (Omulafa), Ose LGA, Ondo State.
On August 9, the Nigerian army announced the arrest of four other people accused of the massacre in the Catholic Church. This was announced to the media by Nigerian Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Lucky Irabor. The arrests were made on August 1 in a joint military/DSS (military intelligence agency) operation in Eika (Okehi LGA), Kogi state. Those arrested are Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza (aka Bin Malik), Momoh Otohu Abubakar, Aliyu Yusuf Itopa and Auwal Ishaq Onimisi.
"We wanted to present the suspects to the public immediately, but we could not do so because some investigations are still ongoing," said the general, who also announced the capture on August 7 in Aiyetorosi, in the state of Ondo, of Idris Ojo (37), a high-ranking member of the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP). "Ojo was planning more deadly attacks and perfected those plans with his accomplices before he was captured," the chief of defense staff said. "In due course the world will see who is behind other attacks in the country," he added. According to the authorities, ISWAP was also responsible for the Owo church massacre. Ondo State Governor Arakunrin Akeredolu reported that another person who housed the suspects before the attack was also arrested.
About 40 people were killed and 80 injured in the attack on the Catholic Church of St. Francis Xavier on June 5.
ISWAP, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for a series of bombings and the attack on a prison in Abuja in early July, which allowed more than 400 detainees to escape, most of whom were later recaptured by the security forces.
Bishops have long warned that the security situation in Nigeria is out of control (see for example the interview with the Auxiliary Bishop of Minna, Luka Sylvester Gopep, Fides 5/8/2022). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 11/8/2022)