The federal government says the attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo state, was orchestrated by the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP).
Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, made this known on Thursday while briefing state house correspondents at the end of the national security council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister who briefed alongside Alkali Baba Usman, the inspector-general of police, said the police has been ordered to go after the perpetrators of the act and bring them to justice.
He said the imprint of ISWAP has been found on the scene of the attack, adding that they will be brought to justice.
The minister said ISWAP’s aim is to use the attack to divide Nigerians and create an impression of an ethnoreligious war.
Gunmen attacked the church on Sunday, June 5, killing many worshippers and injuring several people.
The gunmen were said to have detonated explosives in the church after which they proceeded to fire several shots at the congregation.
At least 40 people died in the attack while over 60 victims were still hospitalised.
Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo, had described the attack as an “attempt to test the will of the people of the state and indeed, the south-west”.
“At Owo, the anger was palpable. The tension was at an abrasive level just as the urge for reprisals was high,” he said.
“Without doubt too, the ripple impact of this heinous act, as well as the understandably angry reaction across the state, could not have been different.
To me, this is an attempt to test the will of the people of the state and indeed, the south-west.”