The Ondo Diocese of the Catholic Church has declined media reports claiming one of its priests was kidnapped by the bandits during the mass at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo on June 5th.
A report earlier said the officiating priest, Rev. Fr. Andrew Abayomi, was kidnapped in the incident which happened at about noon when the mass had almost ended.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued by the Director of Social Communications of the church, Rev Augustine Ikwu, the church said the online report of the priest’s abduction is false.
“It is Pentecost Sunday, a time every Catholic is expected to be in church to commemorate the solemnity. It is so sad to say that while the Holy Mass was going on, men of unknown origin, wielding guns attacked St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. Many are feared dead, many others injured and the church violated. The identity of the perpetrators remains unknown and the situation has left the community devastated.
“However, for now, security agencies have been deployed to the community to relatively handle the situation. At this point in the history of our dear country Nigeria, we need God’s ultimate intervention to restore peace and tranquility.
“Meanwhile, all the priests in the parish are safe and none was kidnapped as the social media has it. The Bishop of the Diocese is also with them at this trying time. Let us continue to pray for them and the good people of Owo and the state at large,” the statement read.