Bereaved Families, Survivors Of Owo Catholic Church Massacre Narrate Bitter Experiences One Year After | #NwokeukwuMascot
|Photo of Bereaved Family|
The survivors and the bereaved families of the terrorist attack at the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, have continued to mourn the tragic incident which happened exactly a year ago.
SaharaReporters had reported that terrorists attacked and murdered over 40 Catholic faithfuls during a Solemnity of the Holy Ghost Sunday at St Francis Catholic Church Owa-Iuwa, Owo in Ondo State.
The suspected terrorists also threw dynamite inside the church, aside from shooting the worshippers at close range, on June 5, 2022.
While many victims were severely injured, others are still nursing their wounds and shuttling between their homes and specialist hospitals.
A year after the tragic tragedy, a merchant, Monogbe Rita, who lost her husband and two sisters-in-law, told newsmen that the incident would stay indelible in her memory.
The mother of five was quoted by Vanguard as saying: “I won’t forget this bad incident because I lost my husband, a police officer, Monogbe John, and two sisters-in-law, Monogbe Omolola, Testimony John, and one of my sons, who is alive but sustained head injury.
“Immediately people started running inside, I saw some hefty men clad in black, so I ran back. After the consistent gunshots, my husband, who was a police officer and the churchwarden left the middle of church to find out what was happening.
“On his way to peep through the window so as to check what really went wrong outside, he was gunned down and his sister, who was following him as well as cautioning him not to peep, was also shot dead.
“My daughter, who was trailing his dad before he was eventually shot alongside his sister, ran back for her life but he was given a hot chase by one of the attackers, and the gunman pursuing her shot her. The bullet slightly hit her on the head and she managed to roll under a car parked on the premises.
“So as the storm calmed, I saw another sister-in-law soaked in blood, seems she was shot on her private part. But she later died.”
Rita said she was given N500,000 and the church also supported her with starting capital to commence business as well as scholarships for her children.
“I used all the money given to me to purchase cassava grinding machine for the purpose of earning income to cater for my children.”
Mrs. Stella Ogbefun also expressed her grief that her grandson, who was studying pharmacy at the University of Benin, UNIBEN, was murdered in the event.
Ogbefun stated that her grandson, whom she simply referred to as Tony, came to live with her temporarily until the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, called off its strike action.
“Tony was shot dead but his brother, who escaped being killed was profusely bleeding and helpers said I should leave the dead and carry the living brother to the hospital, it was the saddest moment of my life.
“When I called their parents in Kogi, I told them to come to Owo, but couldn’t inform them that one of them had given up the ghost.
“Upon the arrival of the parents, they met me in an inconsolable state, as they tried to comfort me, they got the wind of the death of their child, they couldn’t hold it anymore, they left me and started sprawling on the floor. Tony was later buried.”
On the reopening of the church, she stated that the memories would not fade easy, but that she would continue to serve God despite of the horrific catastrophe that nearly destroyed her life.
Adejokun Titilayo, who recounted her terrible ordeal, also stated that the event left her disabled. Adejokun described the killing as "indescribable."
She continued: “I was in the church that very day, I can’t believe that I’m still alive. I can’t even describe how the incident happened because it was a devastating experience for me.
“I lost my wheelchair and one of my shoes to the incident. In fact, people who could walk with their legs died but how I managed to escape is a mystery, all I remembered was that I heard gunshots from every angle.
“Seeing myself alive gives me joy because those who had the opportunity to escape were killed by the gunmen, who attacked the house of God.
“It is heart-wrenching to see how innocent worshippers were killed because I was at the front when it happened.”