Wednesday, June 15, 2022


An attack, for which no group has claimed responsibility, took place during the Mass for the Feast of Pentecost in the Church of St. Francis, located in the town of Owo, in the state of Ondo, in the southwest of the country, less than 200 kilometers from Lagos.

The attackers, numbering at least five, were armed with weapons and explosives. After detonating a bomb near the altar, they methodically fired on the panicking worshipers trying to get out of the building.

The first report made in the morning on Monday, June 6, indicated that there were 21 dead, including several children. Later on Monday evening, several Nigerian newspapers announced a much heavier toll: at least 50 people had died in this massacre. There are also around 50 injured, some of them in serious condition.

The attack hit a state that has hitherto been spared the violence that has been taking place in the country. There have been no less than four attacks since Saturday June 4, with deaths and mass kidnappings in regions further north.

The Owo attack is undoubtedly linked to a political context, as well as a religious one. The ruling party, the APC (All Progressives Congress, or Congress of Progressives) must hold primaries for the presidential election of 2023, to succeed Muhammadu Buhari, who must step down after two terms.

Security is one of the greatest challenges in this country, which is – by far – the most populous in Africa and which is also the largest economy on the continent. In addition, tensions continue to grow on the one hand between the mainly Muslim states of the north, which have established Sharia law, and the mainly Christian states of the south.

The army has been fighting a jihadist war in the Northeast, which has dragged on for twelve years; they must fight against gangs of looters and kidnappers who terrorize the North West; and finally they must pacify the Southeast theater of separatist movements.

Sources: Le Monde/Blueprint/Le Figaro – SFPX.Actualités. Imagen:  © Rahaman a Yusuf