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Ondo State Amotekun arrests killers of 40 worshippers at Owo Catholic Church

The Ondo command of the South Western Security Network, code-named Amotekun on Thursday said it has arrested some suspects linked to the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo in Ondo State.

Speaking on Thursday, the Ondo commander of Amotekun, Adetunji Adeleye said the security network arrested some suspects linked to the attack on the church.

He said weapons and vehicles were recovered in the process of their apprehension.

“We have arrested a number of those who perpetrated evil at the St Francis Catholic Church in Owo,” he said.

“We have also recovered the vehicle they used last after the deadly operation. We have also recovered some of their weapons.

“They came on motorcycles and hijacked a Golf vehicle. We have successfully recovered the vehicle and will soon arrest all the killers.”

“A number of people have been arrested concerning the Owo issue as well as well number of equipment. On that day, we pursued them to the point that we recovered the vehicle and we are still pursuing them We have told you that until we get to the root, I can assure you that the perpetrators and their sponsors will be brought to book.”

He, however, did not give the actual figure of the suspected terrorists arrested but expressed assurance that all the attackers of the worship center would be apprehended.

On the 71 suspected criminals paraded at the headquarters of the command in Akure, the state capital, Adeleye explained that the suspects were arrested within the last one month for various offences ranging from armed robbery, cattle rustling, and kidnapping, raping, fraud and human trafficking.

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“The 71 suspects were picked while committing offences and others were tracked to their hideouts in the forests. We have been able to get a cartel that specialises in stealing and dismantling motorbikes which we all know as okada. Also, we were able to recover over 50 bikes during the operation from these criminals.

“We also got reports from some herdsmen that their cattle were stolen. We went after them and brought the cows back to the Fulani herdsmen that owned the cow.

We have a group of small boys who are under 18 year old that turned themselves into a cartel of criminals in a particular local government in Ondo State and armed themselves. They actually belong to a cult group called ‘Agbado’. We were able to arrest 12 out of the 17 members.

“We have about three to four suspected kidnappers and we intend to take most of these suspects, especially the ones we have concluded their investigations to the DPP and for their onward prosecution in court.”

He assured the people of the state that the corps would not rest on its oars until it rids the state of criminal elements, saying, “there is no hiding place for them. They turned the heat on us and we have also turned the heat on them.”

About 40 worshippers were killed by gunmen on June 5, at the Catholic Church in Owo, while many were reportedly suffered multiple injuries from gunshots.

The gunmen were said to have detonated explosives in the church after which they proceeded to fire shots at the congregation.

On June 9, days after the incident, Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, said the attack was orchestrated by Islamic State West in African Province (ISWAP).

But reacting to the statement, Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti, said the federal government’s claim that ISWAP is responsible for the attack is speculative.

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