Blood on the church walls - gruesome scenes after Nigeria attack

·2 min read
A view of St. Francis Catholic Church where worshippers were attacked by gunmen during Sunday mass service, is pictured in Owo

By Temilade Adelaja and Seun Sanni

OWO, Nigeria (Reuters) - Streaks of blood on the floors and walls, sandals abandoned in a desperate rush to escape, a well-thumbed Bible lying among shards of glass.

Those were some of the disturbing sights inside St Francis Catholic Church in the Nigerian town of Owo after unknown assailants attacked the congregation with guns and explosives during Sunday mass, killing and injuring dozens of people.

"All of a sudden when the mass was about to end we heard two gunshots near this side, so everyone began to run," said Francis Obi, speaking outside the church the day after the massacre.

He imitated the sound of continuous gunfire to describe how the attack intensified, and told how he ran towards a toilet where he fell to the floor in terror.

"I began to scrape (crawl) until I get to the back of the toilet," he said. He then noticed a gap between the wall and the ceiling.

"I put one of my legs there, then I fell over to the other side. That is how I escaped," he said.

The gruesome scene in the church bore witness to the intensity of the violence.

Streaks of blood on the floor and bloody fingerprints on the walls suggested some injured people had tried to drag themselves to safety.

Wooden furniture, including a lectern and a pew, had been blasted into pieces that lay on the floor amid plaster debris.

Sandals, newspapers and an umbrella were among bloodstained personal items left on the floor. A hymn book and a Bible were dusted with rubble and broken glass.

Police officers placed a yellow crime scene tape around the front of the church on Monday, but there was little sign of any forensic investigation taking place.

Two presidential candidates from the ruling party visited the church, accompanied by television crews, photographers, officials and clergymen.

(Writing by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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