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Woman, 50, shot dead inside church in Ebonyi

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A 50-year-old woman,  Mrs Chinyere Agwu, was  yesterday, shot dead inside a new generation church, Solution Ground International Church, at Amasiri, in Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, by an armed man identified as Paul  (surname withheld)

The woman was killed at  about 5a.m. when she went for an intercessory prayer along with two other women in the church.

On approaching the church door, the women were said to have spotted a man they identified as Paul with their touch and he subsequently opened fire on them, even as a shoulder pad in the blouse of one of the survivors was ripped apart by bullets.

The general overseer of the church, Pastor Michael Uche, told journalists in Abakaliki that he was alerted by his mother who was one of the victims that ran home after the gun attack.

He said: “Yesterday morning at about 4.50a.m., my mother was knocking on my door. When I opened the door, I saw her lamenting and I started calming her down. After calming her down, she told me that as they were going to church, as they were entering the church, they saw a man standing in front of the church holding something in his hand. She said the next thing they heard was gunshot from everywhere and the deceased fell down while the other woman that was going to the church with her ran into the bush.

“Immediately I heard that, I carried my motorcycle and went after the woman. As I was approaching the church, I remembered that she said gunshots and I immediately turned back. I saw torchlight when I approached a roundabout and it was a security man and I narrated the incident to him. He suggested that we should go to SARS office and we went to the office and reported the matter…

“The SARS people were not up and doing and I left them. I called one of my assistants and told him to be coming immediately.

“When we got to the church, I put on my motorcycle light and looked around and I didn’t see the victim, so I came back. As we were coming back, we met the security man again who told us that we should go back to the church and search for the woman again and we did so. When we got back to the church, the woman heard my voice and started shouting help me! help! I am dying.

“We carried her. As we were going, she was shouting Paul has killed me, Paul has killed me. We took her to St. Charles Hospital where she died. She sustained serious gunshot injuries.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Loveth Odah, confirmed the incident and  said the suspect, who was identified as Paul, had been arrested.

She said: “The DPO of Afikpo North said at Amasiri in front of one church, Solution Ground, two women were going to the church for prayer session which they called intercession prayer between 5.30a.m. and 6a.m.

“As soon as they arrived the church, they saw a man, Paul, from the area in front of the church holding something and standing beside the church. While they faced their own business to enter the church, they heard a gunshot and Chinyere Agwu, one of the women, fell to the ground.”

“The other woman rushed to the house to inform the pastor who went to police station there and reported the matter. He led the SARS team to the place and rushed the woman to the hospital. Unfortunately, she could not survive it because the man shot sporadically at close range. She had a lot of bullet wounds in her body.

“According to the two women that saw Paul when they were coming to the church, they said he ran and hid somewhere. Paul has been arrested and he is claiming that he is innocent. But the deceased was calling Paul to the extent of calling his surname before she gave up. The bullet wound in her was so much that her abdomen and her chest including her breast were badly affected with bullet wounds and because of that, she could not survive.

“I tried to find out from the Pastor what could be the problem between Paul and the deceased and he said it was not the deceased that was Paul’s target. He said the person Paul was targeting was his (pastor’s) mother. He said the mother had a previous problem with the suspect’s wife. Right now, investigation is on, at the end of the investigation, we should be able to know what has happened”.

However, the body of the deceased has been deposited in the mortuary.

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