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Gunmen massacre at least 50 worshipers at Catholic church in Nigeria

The incident that took the innocent lives of many, including women and children, occurred at St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Nigeria.

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Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
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At least 50 people were killed in an alleged terror attack at a Catholic church in southwest Nigeria on Sunday after multiple gunmen opened fire during Mass, according to reports.

The incident that took the innocent lives of many, including women and children, occurred at St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Nigeria, according to Reuters.

The gunmen shot at people both inside and outside the church building, killing and injuring worshippers, according to a police spokesperson for the Ondo state, Reuters reports. The police spokesperson did not disclose how many people were killed on scene but a doctor at a local hospital said that at least 50 bodies were brought in, and they are treating additional people that are injured, the outlet reports.

Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu described the scene as "a great massacre," according to Reuters, and condemned the attack in a tweet.

"What happened today is tragic. No better way to qualify it. It is the most tragic event! Horrific! What we have seen in America is a child play to what has happened here. That it happened in a church, to say the least, is most condemnable. I feel terribly sad," Akeredolu said.

Reverend Augustine Ikwu, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Nigeria, reportedly issued a statement on the horrifying matter.

"It is so sad that while the Holy Mass was going on, unknown gunmen attacked St. Francis Catholic Church... leaving many feared dead and many others injured and the Church violated," Reverend Augustine Ikwu said.

Ikwu announced that the bishop and priests had survived the attack unharmed, according to Reuters.

Islamist terrorists have been carrying out attacks in northeast Nigeria, using armed gangs and kidnapping citizens for ransom, the outlet reports. Sunday's attack occurred in southwest Nigeria, leaving the country in West Africa in disarray.

Law enforcement personnel have not confirmed a motive or the identity of the attackers as of Monday.

This is developing story.

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