• Death toll rises to 13 • Kingpin still on the run
Following the tragedy that befell St. Philips Catholic Church Amaka, Ozubulu last Sunday, the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi on Wednesday released the names of victims who died in the attack as well as those of victims that sustained various degrees of injuries.
Trouble started when the gunmen rode into the church in a Lexus SUV during a 6.30 am Mass and one of them entered the church and shot at close range to an elderly man, later identified as Aloysius Ikegwuonu, while his wife was shot on the right arm, others remained in the vehicle outside providing the needed exit cover for the sniper.
An eye-witness stated that after killing Ikegwuonu, the gunman shot at the ceiling and opened fire on other worshippers who scampered for safety in different direction
It was also disclosed that late Ikegwuonu is the father of Chief Aloysius Ikegwuonu, a businessman from Amakwa, who built and donated the church to Nnewi Diocese and his son may have been involved in an unfinished business transactions with the assailant.
According to sources, the gunmen were looking for his son, Aloysius, who was said to have returned to the village on Saturday and zoomed off same day but the assailant felt he slept over in the village and perhaps in the church as his car was used by late Ikegwuonu for the early Sunday mass.
But the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi in a statement signed by Bishop Hilary Odili Okeke, bishop of the diocese, disclosed that the death toll in the attack has risen to 13.
Soliciting for funds to assist the victims, the diocese said it has opened a bank account in that regards and encouraged Catholics to contribute to the fund.
The statement reads in part, “Anybody, parish, institution, company, society, association or group that would like to join the diocese in providing assistance to the victims and their families can send their contributions.
“We shall keep accurate records of contribution and distribution of the funds.”
The diocese also gave the names of the 22 surviving victims as: Ikegwuonu Caroline;Nwakile Anthonia; Okoye Odinaka; Okoye Patricia; Isaac Chinedu; Oramadike Chinagorom; Oramadike Chinecherem; Udegbunam Chidimma; Ndulue Samuel; Udegbunam Obiageli; Ugochi Obiajulu; Chukwueloka Chineze; Oramadike Chioma; Azuka Basil; Oramadike Chiamaka; Uchechukwu Chukwueloka; Nwanya Ngozi; Ngwuta Chinemelum; Asomba Chukwudum; Nnudule Leonard; Muomah Michael and Oramadike Favour.
The diocese further disclosed that two of the injured victims have been discharged while others are in different wards in the hospital.
The statement named the dead as Cyprian Ikegwuonu; Hyacinth Oramadike; Cecilia Ewin;Eunice Akanigbo; Rose Okoye; Anulika Obunadike; Uchenna Obunadike; Anthonia Ufondu; Oluchukwu Uhelu; Christiana Igbeja; Udeze Pauline; Victoria Uzokwe; and Florence Nweke.
Meanwhile, Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano has stated that the state government will not rest until those responsible for the dastardly act are apprehended dead or alive. He also stated that the killing cannot pass as terrorism or ethnic agitation but violence between two persons with common business interest.
He said, “Ozubulu killing is not the kind of terrorism done by Boko Haram, it is not from people agitating for separation. Ozubulu killing is a feud between two gangsters that started somewhere outside Nigeria, and they fought themselves over here. Both of them are from that village. Very soon, am very confident that we are going to pick up the guy that did that thing dead or alive.”
Myke Uzendu, Abuja