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06 August 2017

Eleven dead in Nigeria church gun attack

Blood on the steps of the St Philip churchImage copyright
Anambra Police

Image caption

The gunman burst in during Sunday Mass

At least 11 people have been killed in a gun attack on a church in southern Nigeria, police say.

Up to 18 other worshippers were wounded in the early morning incident at the church in Ozubulu near the city of Onitsha.

There were conflicting reports over whether the attack was carried out by a lone gunman or a group of attackers.

Police said the shooting was the result of a feud between Nigerians from Ozubulu who were living abroad.

Anambra State Police Commissioner Garba Umar said the violence could be linked to drug-trafficking.

He said the gunman had been hired to kill a local man who was believed to be in St Philip’s Catholic Church.

One of the Nigerian expatriates involved in the feud had built the church, Mr Umar added in a statement.

A local rights activist said there was more than one attacker and they had been targeting the son of a local chief.

They had not found him at his home and became angry when they could not find him in the church either, Emeka Umeagbalasi told AFP.

Witness Chukwuma Emeka said he had just stepped out of the church to stretch his legs “when I heard gunshots and screaming and people running inside”.

“When the chaos subsided I went inside, I saw my fellow church members dead in a pool of their own blood and many others were screaming in pain.”

The authorities have said they do not believe there was any involvement by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which has burned hundreds of churches during its insurgency in the north-east of the country.

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