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World News

Nigerian priest tried to save parishioners in mass church killing of 40 people

by Alex Collett

A Nigerian Priest has recalled of how he tried to save church attendees during a mass killing of more than 40 people at St Francis Catholic Church in the town of Owo.

After terrorists struck the church during Mass on Pentecost Sunday 5th of June, Father Andrew Adeniyi Abayomi, associate pastor of St Francis Xavier Church spoke about his experience.

As gunmen entered the building,  Father Andrew Adeniyi Abayomi says he did not fear for his life, but instead how he could save others.

Father Abayomi said: “Some of them summoned the courage to lock the entrance door.

“I urged people to move through the sanctuary into the sacristy. Some of the parishioners escaped through there.

“I remained in the inner part of the sacristy. I could not run as I was surrounded by children, while some adults clung to me, some even inside my chasuble. I shielded them just as a hen shields her chicks.”

He added: “I heard the voices of my parishioners: ‘Father, please save us; Father, pray!’ I encouraged them and calmed them, and said they should not worry, that I was praying, and that God would do something.

Father Abayomi went onto to say that he heard three or four explosions, one after the other.

He says the whole attack was well planned and lasted about 20-25 minutes.

He continued: “Some of the attackers disguised themselves as regular parishioners during Mass.

"They worshipped with us during Mass until the attack started.”

Most of the fighting in Nigeria has been in the northern states and the middle belt, which made the attack in Ondo state, south-west Nigeria. a surprise.

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