Some men suspected to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have invaded a Catholic Church in Onitsha, the commercial city of Anambra State, on Tuesday, disrupting the service.
A worshiper in the church who recounted her experiences to Journalists, said the young men who carried weapons including clubs and fuel invaded the church while the morning mass was on, insisting to know from the presiding priest why he was holding a mass on a day their leader, Nnamdi Kanu was going to court.
It was gathered that worshippers almost experienced a stampede as everyone headed for the door, in attempt to escape for their lives.
The angry youths however engaged the priest, who was said to have used diplomacy to disarm them, causing them to leave.
The suspected IPOB members also burnt a tricycle which they found on the road, while beating its driver to a pulp.
The source who didn’t want her name disclosed recounted her experience: “This morning I went for the 5:30am morning mass in my church, St Theresa of Kalkuta Parish in Awada, it is close to Ukaegbu junction, Onitsha. “We were half way into the mass when some group of boys suspected to be members of IPOB entered the church. They were carrying sticks and even fuel. They went straight to the altar and were almost half way 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. 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 were 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.