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One killed, another arrested as police engage gunmen disguised as mourners in Imo

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The Imo State Police Command has confirmed that it gunned down a suspected gunman and arrested another during a gun battle at the Owerri-Onitsha Road.

The development was confirmed on Saturday by the Commissioner of Police (CP) in Imo, Rabiu Hussaini, via a statement signed by the spokesman for the command, Mike Abattam.

According to the statement, both men were part of a group who disguised as +9mourners, noting that other members of the group fled with various gunshot wounds.

He stated that the shootout occurred at about 3.01 pm during a stop-and-search operation at a checkpoint on Owerri-Onitsha Road.

“Sequel to the recent attacks by some unknown gunmen in the state where some innocent persons lost their lives the Commissioner of Police, Imo State Command, CP Rabiu Hussaini psc, directed the command’s tactical teams to ensure strict policing of the border areas and to embark on aggressive, intelligence-led stop and search/patrols to prevent bandits from entering the state forthwith,” Hussaini explained.

“The strategy yielded positive results. On 1www7/11/2021 at about 1501 hours, wahile the ever gallant police command’s tactical teams were on a vigorous and aggressive stop and search operation along Owerri/Onitsha Road, suspected gunmen masquerading as persons mourning – going for burial ceremony somewhere in the state – approached the police checkpoint in a convoy of three motorcycles carrying two passengers on each, alongside a passenger bus with registration number Anambra NNE 725 ZG carrying passengers, and displaying in front of the bus, a belated burial poster of late Mrs Bridget Chine Nwadiozor dated 22/10/2021.

READ ALSO: Gunmen attack mourners during funeral in Benue, kill four

“They were flagged down for routine search. On seeing the date on the belated poster, the police operatives became suspicious and alert. After searching the passengers on the motorcycles and nothing incriminating was seen, they went to the bus.

“In the bid of searching the passengers in the bus, one of them pulled out a Berretta pistol and in an attempt to shoot at the police operatives, he was neutralised which led to a shootout. In the process one of the suspects, Odedira Ezuala ‘m’ aged 23yrs, a native of Umudike Ihiala LGA of Anambra State, was arrested while others, including the motorcyclists, escaped with bullet wounds,” the commissioner added.

The police, according to the statement, recovered a police special Beretta pistol with breach No.90005 and 10 rounds of live ammunition, a bus with Reg. No. Anambra NNE 725 ZG, and a burial poster.

Meanwhile, Hussaini stated that the body of the neutralised gunman has been deposited at a morgue while the arrested suspect was already undergoing interrogation.

He noted that the suspect has made a useful statement to the police and has volunteered to provide support to arrest the fleeing members of the gang.

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