AT least 50 people have been slaughtered in a “satanic” massacre by twisted gunmen dubbed “bandits” at a Nigerian church.

Women and children were among the victims after gunmen opened fire on worshippers inside and outside St Francis Catholic Church in the town of Owo.


At least 50 people were killed in the horror shootingCredit: Reuters
The blood stained floor at St Francis Catholic Church in Owo


The blood stained floor at St Francis Catholic Church in OwoCredit: AFP
Relatives of churchgoers who were attacked by gunmen


Relatives of churchgoers who were attacked by gunmenCredit: Reuters

Ondo state Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu branded the horror as a “vile and satanic attack” that should not be allowed to happen again.

Officials said children were among the dead.

Shocking footage from the scene showed church worshippers lying in pools of blood while people around them wailed.

Catholic Church spokesman in Nigeria, Reverend Augustine Ikwu, said the shooting had “left the community devastated”.

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Ikwu said the bishop and priests from the parish survived the attack unharmed.

A doctor at a hospital in Owo said at least 50 bodies had been taken to two hospitals in the town from the shooting.

The doctor also pleaded for blood donations to treat the injured.

President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the “heinous” attack.

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“No matter what, this country shall never give in to evil and wicked people and darkness will never overcome light,” he said.

And the Vatican said Pope Francis was praying for the victims who had been “painfully stricken in a moment of celebration”.

Nigeria has been battling an Islamist insurgency in the northeast and armed gangs in the northwest who carry out attacks and kidnappings for ransom.

But attacks in the southwest of Nigeria are rare.

Adeyemi Olayemi, a lawmaker in Ondo, said the shooting was believed to have been carried out by ethnic Fulani terrorists – sometimes referred to as bandits.

Olayemi said the attack was likely in retaliation for recent restrictions by the state government on grazing in Ondo, including in forests where the assailants have carried out attacks.

Olayemi said: “This is a reprisal attack to send a diabolical message to the governor.”

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