St. Louis, 10 June, 2022 / 1:00 pm (ACI Africa).
A Nigerian government official said Thursday that the insurgent group Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) is suspected as the perpetrators of a massacre at a Catholic church last week that left dozens dead.
"We have been able to see the footprint of ISWAP in the horrendous attack in Owo and we are after them. Our security agencies are on their trail and we will bring them to justice," Interior Minister Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola said Jun. 9 as reported by Reuters.
In the June 5 attack, gunmen opened fire on Catholic worshipers attending Pentecost celebrations at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, in southwestern Nigeria.
Initial reports suggested that more than 50 people were killed, including children, and others injured. The official death toll for the attack currently stands at 40, with 61 injured people still in hospital, Reuters said.
ISWAP is considered a breakaway faction of Boko Haram, another Islamic extremist terrorist group which has killed thousands of Christians and displaced millions of people in Nigeria and neighboring countries in recent years. ISWAP's leader at the time pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2015.