By Vincent Ujumadu, Awka
Chief Cyprian Ikegwuonu, father of Chief Aloysius Ikwgwuonu, the alleged target of August 6, 2017 attack on worshippers at St Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu, Ekwusigo local government area, was yesterday buried at the church cemetery amidst tight security.
The late Pa Ikegwuonu was one of the 13 victims of the attack in the church, who were shot while worshipping at the ultra modern church built by his son.
Of the 13 people that were killed during the attack, nine were also buried in the church’s cemetery, while four were taken away by their relatives who insisted that their remains be interred in their ancestral homes.
The church had earlier decided that all the victims be buried in the church cemetery, but however did not object when some of the relations of the victims chose to bury them in their homes.
Those earlier buried alongside Pa Ikegwuonu at the cemetery were Mrs. Cecilia Ewim, Chief Hyacinth Oramadike, Mrs. Geraldine Obunadike and her daughter; Miss Uchenna Obunadike.
Others were; Mrs. Pauline Obetta, Mrs. Rose Nwabia and little Miss Marycynthia Ughelu who was just one year old.
Saturday Vanguard recalls that unknown gun men had on the fateful day, invaded the church, after their alleged inability to locate Aloysius Ikegwuonu in his home. As they invaded the church thinking that he was there, they shot indiscriminately, killing 13 people and wounding 29 others.
The Requiem Mass was officiated by the Catholic Bishop of Nnewi Dioce, Most Reverend Hilary Okeke, with the Catholic Bishop of Minna, Most Reverend Martin Uzoukwu also in attendance.
In a sermon, the Episcopal Vicar of Ozubulu Region of Nnewi Diocese, Rev Father Don Chidolue said the victims had been taken as martyrs.
Chidolue said: “By virtue of the nature of their death, which occurred right inside the church, all the 13 people that died in the attack have been proclaimed martyrs.
“We buried them together, so that the church will not easily forget them. Burying them together will serve as a memorial and any time someone looks in there, he would remember that such an incident happened and that some people paid the ultimate price.”