The head of the Roman Catholic church, Pope Francis has broken his silence following the massacre of Catholics inside a church in Owo, Ondo state.
He expressed his condolence to the victims of the terror attack.
Recall that over 50 people, including several children were killed yesterday by suspected bandits as the Church celebrated Pentecost Sunday.
In response, Pope Francis expressed his solidarity with the victims and sent his prayers.
The Pope “prays for the victims and for the country, painfully attacked at a time of celebration, and he entrusts everyone to the Lord, that God might send His Spirit to console them,” said Matteo Bruni, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, on Sunday.
Bishop Jude Ayodeji Arogundade, of the Diocese of Ondo, expressed his closeness to the victims and their families, according to Fr. Augustine Ikwu, the Communications Director for the diocese.
Fr. Ikwu said fears are rising that many more people may die from their wounds, and lamented that the Church had been “violated.”
He denied initial reports on social media that the attackers had kidnapped the priest and other members of the congregation.
“All the priests in the parish are safe and none was kidnapped,” said Fr. Ikwu in a press release. “The Bishop of the Diocese is also with them at this trying time.” He added that the Bishop also urges Catholics to “remain calm, be law abiding, and pray for peace and normalcy to return to our commuity, state, and country.”
Fr. Ikwu said the identity of the attackers remains unknown, but that Nigerian security forces have been deployed in the area surrounding the church in Owo.
He also invoked God’s help to restore “peace and tranquility” in the country.
“We turn to God to console the families of those whose lives were lost in this distressing incident, and pray for the dparted souls to rest in peace,” he said.