The attackers opened fire on the hundreds of worshippers gathered at St. Philip Catholic Church in Ozubulu area of the southeast Anambra state, Xinhua news agency reported.
Witnesses said five gunmen in masks stormed the church, but police said the killing was the work of a lone shooter.
On getting to the church, he had left and out of anger, probably, they rained bullets on worshippers in the church.
"The information at the disposal of the police is that the gunman had been hired to kill a particular family person believed to be among the worshippers", he said.
According to him, many people were injured in the attack while some of the victims died on their way to the hospital.
An eyewitness, who identified herself as a choir member, said the church was dark as there was no light.
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"The man after shooting at his targeted victims still went on a shooting spree, killing and wounding other worshippers, " he said.
The governor further proceeded to Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Cathedral, Nnewi, to calm parishioners over the already heightened rumor that churches were under attack.
Initially, the police in Anambra state confirmed that only one gunman killed eight worshippers and injured 18 others in the attack. They added that the assailants then changed their minds and started shooting at the remaining 100 people in the church.
The governor made the statement on Sunday, August 6, shortly after he visited the scene of the attack in Ekwusigo local government area of the state, Channels TV reports.
Police officials described the incident as apparently related to a local dispute, rather than anything carried out by the radical Islamic terrorist movement Boko Haram.
The police commissioner said the fact the violence erupted in a church makes it especially heinous, saying, "Such conduct shows the people behind the act do not fear God".
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