A clutch of rampaging gunmen on Sunday unleashed terror at Nkweagu in Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, leaving trails of death and sorrow in their wake.
The gunmen invaded Immaculate Conception Catholic Church at about 11:30 pm on, killing three in the Christmas day tragedy.
They had earlier reportedly called one of the victims, a popular POS operator at Nkwuagu market, on the phone to come out from the church. As soon as he stepped out, they shot and killed him.
The killings of the three victims had tossed the whole community into mourning and despair, and paralyzed economic activities, especially on Christmas Day, at the popular Nkwuagu market located along the Abakaliki/Afikpo express road.
Recall that one person, a student, was recently killed at Nkwuagu community as a result of cult clashes, and now, three more people were killed again, making it four.
Investigation revealed that the killings of these three worshippers at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church may be connected with cult-related clashes between rival groups at Nkwuagu community.
The police in the state have not issued a statement on the matter.
In a swift reaction, the Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese, Most Rev. Peter Nworie, strongly condemned the gruesome murder of the said three Immaculate Conception Catholic Church worshippers on Christmas Eve.
Nworie described the incident as sad and disheartening, adding that the suspected killers invaded the church while a priest was celebrating a vigil mass service and killed and injured many others.
“This is the first time such an incident has happened in the church and in Ebonyi State in general,” the bishop noted.