Nigerian officials suspects ISWAP group for attack on Catholic church last week

Nigerian security authorities accused extremists from Islamic State's affiliate in West Africa were behind the brutal attack on a Catholic Church in which dozens of people, including women and children, were killed last week.

Nigerian security authorities accused extremists from Islamic State’s affiliate in West Africa were behind the brutal attack on a Catholic Church in which dozens of people, including women and children, were killed last week.

Forty people are assumed to have died after gunmen attacked St Francis Catholic church in Owo, Ondo State on Sunday, 4 June and 61 survivors, severely injured, are still being provided treatment in hospital, as per the local authorities.

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On Thursday, 9 June, the National Security Council of Nigeria said that the attack was made by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group, evidently creating fears that the militants, who have been restricted to the north-east for several years, are looking forward to increasing their influence and reach other parts of the nation.

However, some analysts have urged caution, citing the absence of any declaration of responsibility from Iswap.

Other possible perpetrators also include militia who are involved in local conflicts, violence between herders and farmers, as well as criminal networks.

During one attack on a church in Anambra state in 2017, police officials captured local traffickers and racketeers.

The rising instability of Africa’s most populous country has been marked by several attacks that took the life of at least 32 people in the rural northwest many days ago.

Armed gangs on bikes attacked four villages in the area of Kajuru of Kaduna state on Sunday, said, witnesses.

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Poor telecommunications network has delayed residents from reporting the attacks, as is usually the case in several parts of northern Nigeria.

Such attacks have become common in Nigeria’s troubled region of North-west, where hundreds have been killed, as per a data collected by the US-based Council on Foreign Relations.

Citizens are often kidnapped and kept in detention for many weeks, usually in forest reserves, until ransoms are paid to them.

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