“The mass just ended, the Rev Fr just said ‘go in peace’ and we were waiting for him and other priests to leave so that we can follow. Suddenly we heard the explosion and before we knew it there were shots from different directions. Some people lay down flat on the floor while others ran helter-skelter.”
This is the account of 45-year-old Idoko Ofoma who was one of the victims of the terror attack which took place at St Francis Catholic Church, Owo on Sunday.
Over 40 worshippers were killed by the gunmen who invaded the church and opened fire on them.
Although Idoko was shot in the thigh and one of his legs, he was still grateful to God that he, his wife and five children were able to escape the attack.
He said, “I went flat on my belly and the rain of bullets continued. I was lucky I was able to make it. It was after they left that I started looking for my wife and five children, and as God would have it all of them survived. We were rushed to St Louis Catholic hospital here in Owo where we are receiving medical care.”
Idoko, who said he sells spare parts for a living, lamented that he lost his shop in 2019 when Owo Road was dualised. He also said his motorcycle which he took to the church that Sunday was stolen.
Another victim, Adenawo Abel Olatunji, an SS1 student of Imade College told Daily Trust his “terrible experience”.
Like Idoko, Olatunji said it was by God’s grace that he escaped through the window.
“When the shooting started, I went flat, then I saw a young boy jump through the church window and I thought I should also do the same thing.
“I jumped through the window, then through the fence and landed in another compound next to the church, I jumped into another compound again until I reached the oba’s palace.
“At the palace, I started moving from room to room, I did not even realise I was shot. Although I felt something hit me like an electric shock before I jumped through the window but I did not know it was a bullet.
“The church later rushed us to this hospital where we have been receiving treatment.”
For Mrs Caroline Agboola Aina, popularly known as Iya Alakara (bean cake seller), the story was not the same as she never made it.
The 69-year-old woman who usually sold akara close to the church was hit by a bullet and died on the spot.
Her son, Agboola Michael, told Daily Trust that he was in Lagos when he heard the sad news of his mother’s death.
“I was shocked and I had to rush down. She was a good woman. She called her children every morning and evening on phone just to pray for us. She was a giver,” he said.
Meanwhile, Daily Trust gathered the church has proposed a mass burial for the deceased.
The church, however, promised to release the corpses to families that want to claim them.
The catechist of the church, Mr Donatus Awololo, told Daily Trust that the victims were rushed to different hospitals including the Federal Medical Centre Owo, St Louis Catholic Hospital, and some private hospitals.
He was grateful to God that he too survived the attack.
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