The National Security Council has identified the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) as being responsible for the attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, on Sunday, June 5, which has left scores of people dead and many others seriously injured.
The National Security Council is made up of the President, the Vice President as well as the heads of all the defence, security and intelligence agencies in the country, among others.
This was made known by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, while briefing State House Correspondents on Thursday, after the National Security Council meeting in Abuja, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Aregbesola disclosed that security agencies, particularly the police, have been directed to apprehend the perpetrators, adding that the attack has no ethnic-religious connection as he affirmed that the group’s activity has nothing to do with religion.
The council rejects killings in the name of blasphemy
The minister said that the council expressed deep concerns over killings in the name of blasphemy and subsequently directed the security agencies to go after perpetrators of the incidents that occurred in Sokoto State and Abuja recently.
Also, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, who joined the minister in the briefing, equally noted the imprints of the perpetrators of the Owo killings have been identified. He said that although no arrests have been made, security agencies are now zeroing in on them.
The meeting was held less than a week after about 50 persons were killed in the attack and several others wounded.
What you should know
- Recall that on Sunday some unidentified gunmen launched an attack on a Catholic church in Ondo state in Nigeria during mass on Sunday, killing scores of people.
- The attackers targeted the St Francis Xavier Catholic Church in the town of Owo as the worshippers gathered on Pentecost Sunday, gunning down parishioners and detonated an explosive device.
- In a recent meeting, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State said 40 persons died in the incident while 26 survivors have been discharged from hospitals in the area.
- He said, “The figure I have now shows that 127 persons were involved and that the number of death now is 40. On admission receiving treatment, we have 61. Twenty-six have been discharged,” he said on Wednesday when he hosted Catholic Bishops from the South-West led by Most Reverend Leke Abegunrin.
- “Those are the figures we have now from the Commissioner for Health. So, the government is not hiding anything.”