Nonsochukwu Uwa, Owerri
Unknown gunmen Tuesday morning, set ablaze a motorcycle, and fired gunshots threatening residents of Oguta Local Government Area of Imo state to enforce sit-at-home, a day after 6 of them were killed by security operatives over their allegedly plan to attack the palace of the Imo State Chairman of Traditional Rulers, Eze Emmanuel Okeke.
Ikengaonline gathered that the incident happened at about 10:46am along the road connecting Mgbidi junction to the villages in the Oguta area.
An eyewitness who spoke to Ikengaonline said: “the unknown gunmen were in a convoy of about five vehicles when they stopped the motorcyclist and ordered him to come down and then set his bike ablaze.”
Another eyewitness gave a slightly different account saying: “The Okada man was carrying a passenger and he saw the unknown gunmen, he jumped down, abandoned his motorcycle and ran away and the gunmen burnt the motorcycle.
“After burning the motorcycle, they started shouting ‘sit-at-home or you die.’ You must sit at home that is the only solution.”
However, at the time of filing this report, residents, shop owners, commuters, and market women were forced to scamper for safety and abandoned their business premises.
It would be recalled last Monday the Imo State Police Command confirmed they killed six suspected members of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, an armed group of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Michael Abattam, disclosed this to newsmen in Owerri.
The Police alleged that the hoodlums were on their way to attack the palace of the Imo state Chairman of Traditional Rulers Council, Eze Emmanuel Okeke, in Amaifeke community, Orlu Local Government Area of Imo state, when they were accosted by security operatives.
“On 16/5/2022 at about 0800 hours at Orlu, hoodlums suspected to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its arm affiliate, Eastern Security Network (ESN), in their numbers, were sighted in three Hilux vehicle shooting sporadically, fiercely advancing towards the palace of Imo State Chairman Council of Traditional Rulers, His Royal Highness Eze Dr E. C. Okeke to unleash terror therein.
“On receipt of the information, the Command’s Tactical Team joined by the military immediately mobilized and rushed to the palace. On their way, the hoodlums on sighting the combined team engaged them in a gun duel, throwing petrol bombs. The gallant team responded, positioning themselves professionally. In the exchange of gunfire that ensued, the hoodlums were overwhelmed due to the superior firepower of the combined team and in the process, six of the hoodlums were neutralized while others escaped with various degrees of gunshot injuries.
“The combined team did not relent in their effort, they chased the hoodlums recovering one pump action gun, three blood-stained cutlasses and three Hilux vehicles suspected to have been snatched from innocent citizens.
“However, calm has been restored in the area and the corpses of the neutralized bandits removed and deposited in the mortuary. On the side of the combined team, no life was lost apart from one of the police vehicles that got burnt due to fire from petrol bomb.
“Meanwhile, efforts are on top gear to arrest other fleeing hoodlums, and security in Orlu and its environs have been beefed up to forestall any further attack in the area,” Police said.