Condemnation have followed Sunday’s shooting at St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu, Anambra State.
There are various sides to the story but below are the facts and accounts gathered from different sources and stringed up in a narrative.
- The Parish Priest of the Church, Rev. Fr. Jude Onwuaso, said the attack took place at about 6.30 a.m. during the early morning Mass.
- The church’s generating set suddenly broke down that morning so the church resorted to using candles as it was still a bit dark.
- An unidentified man, dressed in black attire and a cap to cover his face, walked into the church, shot at a man, Akunwafor Ikegwuonwu, before shooting sporadically at other worshippers.
- The gunman, after the shooting, jumped into a waiting car with a driver.
- The Anambra state Commissioner of Police, Garba Umar, the gunman killed eight worshippers and injured 18 others. He said preliminary investigations showed that the attack was carried out by a native of the area.
- Police sources say the attack followed a quarrel between two natives of Ozubulu residing in South Africa.
- Reports say the feud started four years ago when an indigene of Ozubulu, Aloysius Nnamdi Ikegwuonu a.k.a “Bishop”, based in South Africa, allegedly killed an indigene of Mbaise in a drug trade dispute.
- Bishop is a known philantropist who has built and donated churches (including St. Philips), constructed schools, hospitals and given scholarships.
- In May, Anambra Governor Willie Obiano commissioned a 12km road and a bridge built by Chief Ikegwuonu linking Ozubulu with the neighbouring Ukpor in Nnewi South LGA.
- According to a report by Daily Times, Ginika Enemonwu, an Mbaise native who grew up in Ozubulu, was killed in Johannesburg, in October 2013.
- His murder reportedly set in motion a chain of events that led to Sunday’s massacre.
- The report said years ago, Bishop took Enemonwu to South Africa for a “joint venture” and when the proceeds of their arrangement became significant, Bishop claimed a huge chunk of the profits, a situation which Enemonwu found unacceptable.
- A source said Enemonwu reported the matter to the Mbaise Union in South Africa, expressing fear that he may assassinate him.
- Not long afterwards, he was killed, and a gang war broke out, with many of Bishop’s associates being killed.
- Reports said someone else close to Bishop was murdered in a bar in Johannesburg last week.
- It was believed that traditional rulers and community leaders from Ozubulu and Mbaise waded in and settled the quarrel.
- Bishop was reportedly sighted in Ozubulu a few days ago, and gunmen reportedly started to trail him.
- Not knowing that Bishop had left town, the gunmen went to the church thinking he was there with his father.
- When the gunmen arrived at the church and did not find him, they shot several people, including Bishop’s father, Akunwafor Ikegwuonwu, and some other worshippers.
- A witness who spoke to Daily Times said that the gunmen promised to return if Bishop did not find a way to pay back what he owed, along with some restitution for their deceased brother.
Did the money he owed lead to the Anambra massacre?
The money he owed or the money he did not owe, is the basis of another account by a Nigerian currently living in South Africa.
In a series of tweets via @IPOB_SouthAfric, the Nigerian with codename, Akukaria said the Ozubulu shooting was “a continuation of the drug war that been going on in SA since 2013”.
His account reads:
The Ozubulu shooting at St. Phillips cath church is a continuation of the drug war that been going on in SA since 2013. More than 30 guys have been killed in this war of who takes control of a park where drugs is sold in Hillbrow. Even wives and relative have been caught in this crossfire.
The last time Rev. Fr Ebube Mouso visited SA, one of the guys was gunned down right where the Fr. was holding his crusade. Sources said a notorious Nigerian who has been killings people since his arrival here in 1997 and was sentenced to 3 lives(75years) in 2011 is behind this killings.
He calls you from prison and tell you that he’s not gonna gain freedom soon.And if you don’t give his boy X amount they will kill you. All he needs is information about which and which Nigerians are doing well. He gets your number and ring you for ransom.
He happily tells his victims that he’s well protected in South Africa prison and you can’t get him. He then send his guys, mostly South Africans to kill our people. The guy that was targeted today is called Bishop Ozubulu. Arguably the richest Nigerian in South Africa? He built the St Phillip Catholic Church and two other Catholic Churches in Ozubulu. Three of his boys have been gunned down in this same park in hillbrow.
For the past 2 years Bishop has upped his security details. In fact he’s been protected by SAPS because most are his friends. He stays in one of the most secured areas in northern suburbs of Joof JHB. So seeing they can’t get him, they decide to go and kill his family members in Ozubulu. They won’t go unpunished IJN. ???