Pope Francis offers prayers after deadly Nigeria attack
VATICAN— After a bloody attack at a Catholic Church in southern Nigeria left 11 dead and several more wounded, Pope Francis conveyed his sympathy to the victims and their families, assuring the community of his prayer.
In an Aug. 7 telegram addressed to Bishop Hilary Paul Odili Okeke of Nnewi, Pope Francis said he was “deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and injury following the violent attack in Saint Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu.”
The Pope extended his “heartfelt condolences to you and to all the faithful of the Diocese of Nnewi, in particular the families of the deceased and all those affected by this tragedy,” and offered blessings of “consolation and strength” upon the entire diocese.
The telegram, signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, came after gunmen stormed St Philip’s Catholic Church in the city of Ozubulu early Sunday morning, killing at least 11 people and wounding 18 more.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. According to BBC News, local terror group Boko Haram, which has burned hundreds of churches and killed thousands during its more than decade-long insurgency in the country’s north-eastern region, was not involved.
Rather, the attack is believed to have been the result of either a private feud or drug-trafficking.
Reports conflict as to whether there were one or two gunmen involved, however, police have begun a manhunt in the area in the hopes of finding those responsible.