Monday, August 7

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"The men that shot at us wore army uniform" - Ozubulu survivor

by Staff writer



According to Mr Ejike Ofoegbu who witnessed the incident, this the first-hand information of what happened at St. Philip's Catholic Church, Ozubulu.


"We were all in the church during the 6am morning mass when we saw two cars drive into the church.

Because it was a church premises we overlooked it and we considered them to be people that came for morning mass (morning service). But to the surprise of everyone, the car halted at the center of the gate, meaning you cannot close the gate, since it is open already.

The driver came out of the car pretending he was fixing a problem, so everyone still ignored the drama happening outside the premises.

Suddenly, some men came out from the car, fully armed, all in army uniform. I was lucky because I was sitting at the back, just beside the door. But I was clearly seeing what was happening. The sky was cloudy and everywhere seemed dark; no one saw what they were carrying, whether it were guns or something else, but surely they were fully equipped.

They immediately rushed to the front door. I was too lucky to jump the fence, but before I had jumped, I heard gunshots everywhere in the building. They obstructed the front gate, because for women that is their only route to escape. That was why more women were killed than men. Children were killed as well, many were seriously injured.

After I had escaped, I started making calls to link my church members who were in the church, but they were not picking up. I did not know whether they were dead already.

The gun men were not Igbos as widely reported. Their language was not Igbo, the government and police should stop lying.

I heard they said that they [the gunmen] were flashing torchlight on us, but it is a lie. The inside of the whole church was so lighted that even from outside you will see who was inside. Even at that, if they were really flashing torchlight to locate their target, none of those that were killed are their target.

Like I said before and I will say it again, I was at the back door. I saw all that happened; the men wore army uniform, their faces covered. They stood at the front door, holding their trigger, and shooting at anything that moves.

When the police came, I was waiting for them to ask questions of what happened, so that I will explain, but they were busy taking pictures of the dead ones, without knowing the fact.

Not too long after they had gone, I went back to the church. I was shocked with what I saw; my mother was lying dead on the church floor! Many people were unconscious but later succumbed to death.

After about one hour of the killings, the Police arrived the church. Two hours later, Governor Willie Obiano arrived too.

Everyone was shocked, wondering how the perpetrators got access to army uniform."

Another woman, name withheld, who also survived the mayhem said: "All I could remember is that I was sitting at the front when some people in army uniform invaded the church and started shooting at everyone.

"They just held the trigger and fired at everyone they sighted. I managed to hide under the seat but I was shot in the leg.

"A boy was shot in head, and his brain and blood spilled everywhere - even at my face."

Credit: Ejike Ofoegbu

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DNB Stories could not completely ascertain the accuracy of this account of the sad incident.

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