About nine people were reportedly killed in a week long operation by cultists who attacked Assa community in the Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
The attacks reportedly started last week Monday.
According to residents who fled the community over fears of being killed, the cultists were fighting over oil deposits in the area.
Speaking on the invasion, Kingsley Igwe said one of his relatives, Vitalis Walata, Walata was killed on Monday.
He said: “The incident happened on Monday morning while he was on a visit. Those men attacked him at the market square and shot him dead. He was married with two children and his wife was pregnant.
“After he was killed on Monday, those gunmen shot two people dead on Tuesday. On Wednesday, another man in the community was killed. On Thursday, a taxi driver was waylaid and shot dead. A total of nine people were killed last week.
“As I speak to you, there is no school, market or church in the community that is functioning. Everybody has deserted the place. I have also run away.”
While confirming the attacks, the Government Liaison Officer of the council, Oluchi Odita, said he could not tell the number of victims.
Odita appealed for the intervention of the state and federal governments, saying the situation had got out of control.
“It is the youths who are killing one another. We have been trying to mediate without any success. Help us use your medium to beg the government to come to our rescue. People are running away from the community,” he added.
Speaking also, the Commissioner of Police, Imo State, Taiwo Lakanu, explained that the command was working with the military to end the crisis in the community, adding that the police were faced with the challenge of a difficult terrain and the reluctance of residents to give information.
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