Tragedy struck on Thursday in Ilile community in Ohaji/Egbema Local Area of Imo State, as gunmen, suspected to be cultists killed five persons, including a retired police officer and a former President-General of the community.
According to reports, the incident, occurred around 3am, causing pandemonium in the community.
A source in the community said the victims included a retired police officer, identified simply as Mr Ukpabi; the immediate past President-General of the community, Napoleon Amadi; a member of the vigilante group in the community, Uwagwu Eze, and two others.
Others, who sustained bullets wounds, were said to have been hospitalised.
According to the source, the gunmen, invaded the homes of the victims, shooting their targets.
The source said: “As we speak, five persons have been confirmed dead. Among the dead are a retired police officer, Mr Ukpabi; the immediate past President-General of our community, Napoleon Amadi; a member of the vigilante group in our community, Uwagwu Eze, and two others.
“Three persons died on the spot, while the two others died in hospitals. Others are lying critically injured in hospitals. The attackers invaded their victims’ homes around 3am and shot them. They killed the victims in their houses while they were asleep. It was indeed a tragedy.”
On the reason behind the attack, the source said: “It was purely cultism. I don’t know the names of the warring cults, but the attacks were cult-related. This is indeed too much to bear. I can’t believe it.”
Confirming the attack, the Imo State Police Command spokesman, Orlando Ikeokwu, said three persons were killed.
Though he was not sure if the killings were cult related, Ikeokwu said the State Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Ladodo, had ordered a thorough investigation into the matter with a view to bringing the killers to justice.
“I can confirm that three persons were killed. But I cannot confirm if the attacks were cult-related, because the assailants came and shot their targets. The CP has ordered a thorough investigation into the killings with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice,” the PPRO stated.
Our correspondent recalls that the community has been a battleground for the Dey Gbam and Iceland confraternities for a while.
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