Families Of Victims Relive Sad Experiences, One Year After; Owo Attack
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Families of the victims murdered, a year ago, by terrorists at the St. Francis Catholic Church, in Owo, Ondo State, have continued to recount their sad ordeals and experiences.

By Cypher Ilerioluwa
Duduspree News, Texas

It will be recalled that no fewer than 41 worshippers, including children and the aged, were murdered during a morning mass by the terrorists.

The killers 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.

Speaking with newsmen, a year after the sad incident, a trader, Monogbe Rita, who lost her husband and two sisters-in-law, said the incident would remain indelible in her memory.

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The mother of five said: “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 chidren.”
Also, one Mrs. Stella Ogbefun, lamented that her grandson, who was studying pharmacy at the University of Benin, UNIBEN, was killed in the incident.

Ogbefun, said that her grandson, whom she simply identified as Tony came to reside with her temporarily till the strike action embarked upon then by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, was called of.

“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 said the memory won’t fade off easily, but maintained that she would keep serving God regardless of the terrible incident that nearly shattered her life.

Also, narrating her harrowing experience, Adejokun Titilayo, said the incident has left her crippled.
Adejokun said that the killing remained indescribable to her.

“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 worshipers were killed because I was at the front when it happened.”

Meanwhile, the Ondo Diocese of the Catholic Church has commenced activities to formally open the church.

Recall, that the diocese had in April opened the church partially to allow worshippers to celebrate the Easter festival.

A statement, yesterday, by the Director of Social Communications of the Diocese, Ikwu Augustine Ikwu, in Akure, said that a week-long programme had been planned to officially reopen the church for the worshippers.

Written by:

Cypher Ilerioluwa is a skilled and experienced professional in social media management, blogging, content creation, animation and web design.

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