Sit-at-home: Suspected IPOB members invade church in Onitsha
On Tuesday, a group of youths suspected of belonging to the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, stormed a Catholic church in Onitsha, Anambra State.
The young men, who brandished weapons including clubs and fuel, invaded the church while the morning mass was going on, demanding an explanation from the presiding priest why he was holding mass on the day Nnamdi Kanu was scheduled to appear before a court, according to a worshiper in the church who recounted her experience to newsmen.
WITHIN NIGERIA gathered that worshippers fled in different directions to avoid the attack.
The suspected IPOB members also burnt a tricycle found on the road, while beating its driver to a pulp.
“This morning I went for the 5:30 am morning mass in my church, St Theresa of Kalkuta Parish in Awada, it is close to the Ukaegbu junction.
“We were halfway into the mass when some group of boys suspected to me member of IPOB entered the church. They were carrying sticks and even fuel. They went straight to the altar and were almost halfway there.
“They approached our parish priest, Rev Fr Joseph and asked him why he was celebrating Mass on a day when their master was going to court. They were quite a number of them and were visibly angry.
“Everybody in the church took to their heels. There would have been a stampede because there were a lot of people in the mass today. I ran to a building close to the church.
“Father Joseph told them we were holding mass today to pray for the release of Nnamdi Kanu. He used diplomacy to talk to them, and even asked them if they were really for Ndi Igbo or against Ndi Igbo? They now said okay, that if so, the people in the church was for them.
“They now called back everyone to continue the mass that they were now convinced that the church people were Biafrans. Some of us were so afraid that we could not return, so we went home from there. They apologized to the priest and left.
“The same group went out and saw a tricycle rider. No one knows why the man was outside because, on sit at home days, you hardly find a tricycle outside. They beat up the man and burnt his tricycle, and the tricycle is still there now smoking,” the source recounted.