Death toll rises to 20 in Deeper Life Church attack

OKENE, the Kogi State town where unknown gunmen killed 16 Christian worshippers on Monday, had little time to mourn yesterday – no thanks to another raid in which four people were killed.

The death toll of the Monday night Deeper Life Church attack climbed up to 20.

As the town was struggling to recover from the hangover of the attack, some gunmen hit the Central Mosque, shooting dead four people, including two soldiers.

Governor Idris Wada declared a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Okene Local Government Area and ordered a restriction of commercial motorcycles within Lokoja, the state capital.

The gunmen, according to witnesses, wore a  white regalia. They drove in a Hilux van to the Central Mosque near the Okene Local Government Secretariat at about 4pm during a Ramadan lecture and opened fire .

A source said a soldier, who was at the mosque, gunned down two of the invaders before he was hit. He died.

The gunmen were said to have escaped before security agents arrived at the scene.

But in a different account, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Kogi Police spokesman Simon Ile as saying that three men opened fire on the Army patrol team on duty around the area, killing two soldiers instantly.

All the major roads in the town were immediately taken over by security agents, who were ready to repel more attacks.

Police Commissioner Muhammed Katsina confirmed the incident.

The governor, who condemned terrorism, urged residents to go about their normal businesses as security agents are on the alert.

The Deeper Life attack death toll rose to 20, following the death of four more victims. Fifteen people died on the spot after the gunmen bearing automatic rifles invaded the Bible Study Class, shooting indiscriminately. One died in the hospital.

Residents were restless as rumours of a planted bomb hit the town. But it turned out to be a hoax.

Wada, wearing a bullet proof vest, visited the church and survivors  in the hospital. He rained curses on the attackers and promised to track them down.

There was thick, red blood splattered on the floor of the church. Shoes and other belongings lay scattered all over the place.

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