Nigeria arrests suspects in church attack that left 40 dead

Nigeria authorities confirmed this Tuesday (9) that they detained five suspects of attacking a Catholic church in the southeastern state of Ondo, in the last month of June, in an action attributed to the Islamic State in the province. of West Africa (ISWAP) that caused the death of 40 people.

General Lucky Irabor, Army Chief of Staff, told a news conference in Abuja that the alleged killers were arrested in recent raids in various parts of the country, without specifying the number of detainees, and indicated that they would be brought to justice once the investigation is completed.

Irabor gave the name of one of the alleged masterminds of the attack, Abdul Malik Omeiza, also known as Ibn Malik, who is said to have also been one of the perpetrators of the June attack on a police station in the north-central state of Kogi, during which a policeman was killed and weapons were stolen.

In turn, the governor of the state of Ondo, Rotimi Akere dolu, stated that five alleged participants in the attack on the Catholic Church of Saint Francis, in the city of Owo, have already been arrested.

“Now that the military has announced it, I can say that they have already arrested five of them. They are still on the trail of the others,” the governor told reporters. Akeredolu said the person who housed them in his home in Owo was also arrested.

“We spared no effort. I’m glad the Defense Chief of Staff made the announcement. We’ve known this for a long time, but we needed to not disclose it because there are still more tasks in progress,” he added.

On June 5th, gunmen disguised as members of the congregation fired shots and used explosives in the attack on Saint Francis Church, according to police.

Days later, the Nigerian government attributed the attack to ISWAP, a faction of the jihadist group Boko Haram.

Furthermore, in 19 June, gunmen killed at least three people and kidnapped dozens of parishioners at a Baptist and Catholic church in the northern Nigerian city of Rubu.

Nigeria suffers from a huge climate of insecurity with incessant attacks by bandits and mass kidnappings in the center and northwest of the country, in most cases against Christians.

No northeast, suffers from the jihadist threat since 2009 from Boko Haram and, since 2015 from its ISWAP faction.

Both groups have killed more than 35 thousand people and cau around 2.7 million internal displacements took place, mainly in Nigeria, but also in neighboring countries such as Cameroon, Chad and Niger, according to government and UN data.

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