Gunman kills worshippers during Sunday mass in a Catholic church in Nigeria

Scores of worshipers were killed in the early hours of Sunday after unidentified gunmen opened fire inside a Catholic church in southeast Nigeria’s Anambra State, an eyewitness said.

The witness told Xinhua by phone that the gunmen entered the St. Philips Catholic Church in Ozubulu area of the state during the 5:45 a.m. (loal time) mass, identified a particular man, and shot him.

He said they later went on rampage and shot at the remaining over 100 worshippers. Several people were killed in the church while other critically injured worshippers died on the way to the hospital.

Christians in Nigeria (OpenDoors):

  • Nigeria is a federal country with Christian majorities in the southern states and mainly Muslim majorities in the northern states.
  • Twelve states have instituted sharia, either partially or fully, since 1999.
  • Since Muhammadu Buhari became president in 2015, Nigeria’s military campaign against Boko Haram has been relatively successful in dislodging the group from the territories it had occupied. But while Buhari has made efforts to fight Boko Haram—responsible for much of the brutal violence against Christians—the government seems reluctant to respond to the continuing violence against Christians in the Middle Belt region, caused by Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen.