(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday sent a message of condolences following an attack at a Church in southeastern Nigeria. At least 11 people were killed and 18 others were wounded when gunmen opened fire on worshippers who had gathered early on Sunday at St Philip’s Catholic church in Ozubulu near the city of Onitsha.
In the message, signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the pope says he is “deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and injury”. He extends his “heartfelt condolences” to the local bishop and to “all the faithful of the diocese of Nnewi, in particular the families of the deceased and all those affected by this tragedy.”
Police said they believe the attack may have been linked to drug trafficking and was carried out following a feud between local residents and member of the community living outside Nigeria.
Please see below the full text of the message from Pope Francis to the bishop of the diocese of Nnewi in Nigeria
The Right Reverend Hilary Paul Odili Okeke
Bishop of Nnewi
Deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and injury following the violent attack in Saint Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu, His Holiness Pope Francis extends heartfelt condolences to you and to all the faithful of the Diocese of Nnewi, in particular the families of the deceased and all those affected by this tragedy. Upon the entire Diocese, His Holiness willingly invokes the divine blessings of consolation and strength.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State