See reactions to the attack at St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Ugwu Oye in Ozubulu, Anambra State.
Unknown to them, gunmen would later enter and open fire on them. According to a survivor named Mr Ohamadike Stephen, the attack took place by 5:45 am.
Speaking with a Daily Sun correspondent, he said: “We were in the church and I was to handle the second reading.
“As the first reading was still on, I heard a sound like a thunder. I dived under a long form in the church auditorium and from there raised up my head a bit and saw a young man with a fez cap shooting and people ran in all directions for safety in confusion.”
“I remained where I was and that was around 5:45 am. The Parish Priest removed his cassock and hid at the altar while the gunmen continued in the shooting spree.”
“When they had left, I helped in evacuating the wounded and casualties to the NAUTH, Nnewi.”
This attack resulted in the death of several of the members and left others severely wounded.
Many Christian leaders and bodies including the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Anambra, have reacted to the massacre.
In a statement signed by the Diocese Director of Communication, Rev. Hygi Aghaulor, the church condemned the attack.
The statement reads: “It is regrettable that our people are more and more losing a sense of what is sacred.
“What on earth would make people open fire on innocent unarmed worshippers including children and women on a Sunday morning?”
“We condemn this ungodly act in its totality; we pray Almighty God to console the families affected and assure them that our hearts are with them as we pray for the quick recovery of the wounded.”
“For the entire parishioners, we call on them not to be discouraged in their usual practice of faith.”
“It is when the forces of darkness attempt to overshadow goodness that the light of God shines even brighter than ever just as it happened on Easter Sunday.”
“Evil may make attempts but God and goodness will always triumph; we call on the good people to continue to pray for the deceased worshippers and their families.”
The President of Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Supo Ayokunle, has also reacted to the killings.
In his statement, made by his spokesman, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, the CAN president called on security agencies to look into the attack and find the perpetrators.
He said: “I urge the Federal Government through the Inspector -General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, in particular, to address the issue of proliferation of arms and ammunitions so as to make our world safer.
“The perpetrators of this ungodly act must be brought to book without delay. I call on the police to fish out those responsible and there must not be any cover up; enough of these killings in the country.”
So far, the death toll has risen to 11, according to the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Garba Umar.
The state police have also linked the attack to a feud between members of the community living outside Nigeria.
New reports state that the police has arrested some suspects.