Rev. Father Fidelis Ifeanyichukwu Ugozo of the St. Raphael’s Catholic Church in Ugbenu, Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State, has been attacked by some alleged idol worshippers.
Residents say the angry youth attacked the priest, who was carrying out the ‘Blessed Sacrament’ procession with others, stabbed and beat him into a state of coma.
The idol worshippers, led by the youth leader in Obubo village in Ugbenu town, Gabriel Ikegbunam, were reportedly upset because they thought the priest would burn their deity, according to a former catechist at the same parish named Cletus Nwankwo.
Speaking with ABS news, he said:
Mr. Ikegbunem insisted that they will not enter his village named Obubo and when they overpowered him, he started making contacts, calling some youths from the village to attack the priest and others who were mainly women and children.
They moved from Agueke village to Obiagu and decided to branch at Obubo before Ikegbunam blocked them and in the process, he called some of them and told them that Catholics are coming to burn their shrine.
Soon the youths trooped out, wielding dangerous weapons such as axe, gun and machetes. They grabbed the Blessed Sacrament from our Parish Priest, hit it on the floor and used the Monstrance to hit our Parish priest on his hand before stabbing him on the face and other parts of the body.”
The Traditional ruler of Ugbenu town, Igwe Lawrence Egwuonu, whose wife, Lolo Egwuonwu was affected by the attack, did some digging.
He discovered that the idols were liars and were totally responsible for the attack.
“After investigation I discovered that they were all liars. None of their shrines were burnt and I can defend it anywhere. It was Ikegbunam that incited others to attack the priest and other Christians. There greatest mistake was touching the priest and destroying the Blessed Sacrament. It is a sacrilege and they will pay for it,” he added.
Two of attackers, Anthony Anigbogu and Humphrey Ekwenye , have been arrested, while the priest is still in coma at the St. Joseph’s hospital, Adazi Ani.