The Military High Command on Thursday disclosed that two additional Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists who participated in the massacre of over 40 worshippers at the St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo in Ondo State on June 5, 2022, have been arrested.
This brings the number of suspects linked to the incidents arrested to seven by the security agencies.
According to a statement by the Director of Defence Information, Jimmy Akpor, a Major General, the suspects arrested are Al-Qasim Idris and Abdulhaleem Idris.
“Recall that the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, during his parley with media executives and editors yesterday, Tuesday 9 August 2022, informed of the arrest of 4 terrorists among those who carried out the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo on 5 June 2022,” Akpor said.
“They were arrested through a combined operation by military and DSS personnel at Eika, Okehi LGA, Kogi State on 1 August 2022.
“Those arrested include Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza (a.k.a Bin Malik), Momoh Otohu Abubakar, Aliyu Yusuf Itopa and Auwal Ishaq Onimisi.
“Barely few hours after the disclosure by the CDS of the arrest of 4 of the Owo Catholic Church attackers, 2 additional ISWAP terrorists, who were also connected to the attack on the church were apprehended at Omialafara (Omulafa), Ose LGA, Ondo State yesterday, 9 August 2022.
“The arrests were made through the collaborative effort by military and DSS personnel. The suspects are Al-Qasim Idris and Abdulhaleem Idris.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola had on June 9 said the attack was orchestrated by ISWAP — a claim that was countered by the state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu and many others who believed the minister’s statement was hasty and was not based on proper evidence.
On Tuesday, Lucky Irabor, chief of defence staff, announced that the gunmen behind the attack on the church have been arrested.
Giving details on the arrest, Akeredolu said five suspects have been arrested, including the person who accommodated the gunmen before the attack.