Pope Francis saddened by Owo church massacre

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Pope Francis prays the rosary with about 160 people in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican May 1, 2021. The pope began a monthlong rosary marathon praying for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Head of  the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, on Monday expressed deep sadness following the bloody massacre of Catholics in Owo, Ondo State.

Religion Nigeria reported that many were brutally killed as unknown gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen stormed the St Francis Catholic Church during mass on Sunday morning.

According to the National Emergency Management Agency, at least 11 children and 22 adults are on admission at the emergency wards of the Federal Medical Centre, Owo.

Reacting in a tweet on Monday evening, the Pope said, “I was deeply saddened to learn of the horrific attack at Saint Francis church in Owo in #Nigeria.

“#PrayTogether for all those affected by this act of unspeakable violence and for the conversion of those blinded by hatred and violence.”

Meanwhile, Governor Akeredolu, in his response to the gruesome attack, vowed to commit every available resource to hunt down the killers of worshippers.

“It is a black Sunday in Owo. Our hearts are heavy. Our peace and tranquillity have been attacked by the enemies of the people. This is a personal loss, an attack on our dear state.

“I have spoken to the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ondo, Most Reverend Jude Arogundade, who is presently on his way to Owo. Similarly, I have had to cut short my party’s national assignment in Abuja and visit Owo immediately.

“This is an unexpected development. I am shocked, to say the least. Nevertheless, We shall commit every available resource to hunt down these assailants and make them pay. We shall never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in our resolves to rid our state of criminals,” Akeredolu said.