Credit: AFP

The Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) has condemned the terrorist attack which took place at the St. Francis Catholic Church in the Ondo State of Nigeria on Sunday.

In a statement on Monday, ECOWAS sympathised with the government and the people of Nigeria as well as the families and victims who lost lives during the attack.

ECOWAS in its statement dated June 6, assured of its “commitment in working together to rid the West Africa region, of the evils of terrorism.”

The BBC reported that gunmen on Sunday attacked and killed St. Francis Catholic Church worshippers in Ondo state, south-west Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari said “only fiends from the nether region” could have done this “dastardly act”.

The armed men entered St Francis Catholic church in the town of Owo during a Sunday service. They fired into the congregation and then kidnapped a priest as well as some other church-goers, witnesses said.

No figures for the numbers killed or abducted in Sunday’s violence have been confirmed.

But a doctor at a local hospital, quoted by the Reuters news agency, said that, “several worshippers were brought in dead”. After visiting the church and hospital, state lawmaker Ogunmolasuyi Oluwole told the Associated Press news agency that children were among the dead.

Meanwhile, Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has declared a week of mourning during which flags will fly at half-mast following Sunday’s attack at St Francis Catholic church.

Officials have not given a death toll, but eyewitnesses have said at least 25 people were killed.

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ondo says the attacked church, which is one of the biggest parishes in Ondo state, can hold up to 1,200 people.

Bishop Jude Arogundade called on the government to beef up security and arrest those behind the attack.

Nigeria’s medical association is calling on locals to go to nearby hospitals, where people are receiving treatment, to donate blood.