Pope Francis ‘saddened’ by ‘violent’ Nigeria church attack

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Vatican City, Aug 7 (IANS/AKI) Pope Francis is “deeply saddened” by the deadly gun attack on a church in Nigeria’s Ozubulu in which at least 11 people were killed, the Vatican said on Monday.

“Deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and injury following the violent attack in Saint Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu,” read a telegram sent by Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin to Bishop of Nnewi Hilary Paul Odili Okeke.

“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,” it said.

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The authorities have said they do not believe there was any involvement in Sunday’s attack by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which has burned hundreds of churches during its insurgency in the north-east of the country over the past decade.

Police said a feud between expatriate Nigerians from Ozubulu led to the shooting spree, in which 18 people were also wounded, some of them critically.

It was not immediately clear if one or more gunmen carried out the attack.



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