Gunmen opened fire on worshippers and detonated explosives at a Catholic church in southwestern Nigeria on Sunday, leaving dozens feared dead, state lawmakers said.
The attackers targeted the St. Francis Catholic Church in Ondo state just as the worshippers gathered on Pentecost Sunday, legislator Ogunmolasuyi Oluwole said. Among the dead were many children, he said.
The presiding priest was abducted as well, said Adelegbe Timileyin, who represents the Owo area in Nigeria’s lower legislative chamber.
Authorities did not immediately release an official death toll. Timileyin said at least 50 people had been killed, though others put the figure higher.
Videos appearing to be from the scene of the attack showed church worshippers lying in pools of blood while people around them wailed.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said “only fiends from the nether region could have conceived and carried out such dastardly act,” according to a statement from his spokesman.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack on the church.
While much of Nigeria has struggled with security issues, Ondo is widely known as one of Nigeria's most peaceful states. The state, though, has been caught up in a rising violent conflict between farmers and herders.
Nigeria's security forces did not immediately respond to questions about how the attack occurred or if there are any leads about suspects. Owo is about 345 kilometres (215 miles) east of Lagos.
Additional sources • AP