No fewer than three worshippers have reportedly been killed by unknown gunmen who invaded Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Nkweagu, in Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
DAILY POST reports that the gunmen attacked the church at about 11:30 pm on Sunday.
They had earlier called one of the victims, a popular POS operator at Nkwuagu market, on the phone to come out from the church. As soon as he stepped out, they shot and killed him.
It was gathered that the killings of the three victims threw the whole community into mourning and paralyzed economic activities, especially on Christmas Day, at the popular Nkwuagu market located along the Abakaliki/Afikpo express road.
Recall that one person, a student, was recently killed at Nkwuagu community as a result of cult clashes, and now, three more people were killed again, making it four.
Investigation revealed that the killings of these three worshippers at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church may be connected with cult-related clashes between rival groups at Nkwuagu community.
When contacted for a reaction, the Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi State Command, CP Augustina Ogbodo, did not respond to several calls. Similarly, the PPRO did not respond to text messages sent to her by newsmen in Abakaliki.
In a swift reaction, the Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese, Most Rev. Peter Nworie, has condemned in totality the gruesome murder of the said three Immaculate Conception Catholic Church worshippers on Christmas Eve.
Nworie described the incident as sad and disheartening, adding that the suspected killers invaded the church while a priest was celebrating a vigil mass service and killed and injured many others.
“This is the first time such an incident has happened in the church and in Ebonyi State in general,” the bishop noted.