Gunmen suspected to be members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have killed eight Hausa and Fulani men from Northern Nigeria and Niger Republic in Owerri, Imo State.
The gunmen, who on Tuesday night reportedly attacked building accommodating the victims at Orogwe area of Owerri, also injured six others persons during the incident.
The gunmen were said to have cut the head of one of the victims and went away with it.
An Hausa man, Abubakar Muhammad, who escaped from being killed, said strange men had earlier visited the Hausa community at Orogwe Monday evening to interact with them before the incident.
He said the building was attacked by the gunmen because planned to get rid of all of them.
He said: “When they came that evening, they were not carrying arms. They exchanged pleasantries with us and we didn’t even know they were gunmen. But in the night, they came back shooting our people. They killed seven people on the spot but the eighth person died in the hospital while another person was critically injured. We have buried them the following day (Tuesday).
“The gunmen on Sunday shot at some northern travellers. They opened fire on their bus, many of them were wounded while one man also lost his life. A day after this incident was when they came to attack us at Orogwe. Some of those killed were my colleagues and Hausa dealing in cows.
We are now living in fear.”
Also, the Sarkin Hausawa of Imo State, Alhaji Auwal Baba Suleiman, confirmed the incident to Daily Trust.
According to him, some of those killed were nationalsof the Niger Republic.
He said: “The attack was on the residence where mainly people who occupy the place are from the Niger Republic. They are doing their business here; this (attack) has been happening for some time. We want the government to take some measures.”
Meanwhile, the Imo State Police Command through its spokesman, Mike Abattam, in a statement confirmed the attack, saying seven people lost their lives.
Abattam said: “The armed men came in a black Lexus SUV car and three motorcycles. Each motorcycle carried two persons and were shooting at the occupants of a building at Orogwe, Owerri West LGA, Imo State.
“The building belongs to one Sir Chima Ogbuehi, a resident of Lagos. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) swiftly mobilised his men with the support of a detachment of the command’s tactical teams to the scene, but on arrival, the hoodlums had escaped almost immediately.
“They snatched a blue coloured Toyota Sienna bus and the command’s tactical team speedily went on their trail while the DPO and his men rushed the wounded persons to Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, and evacuated the deceased’s bodies to the mortuary.
“Regrettably, a total of seven persons lost their lives in the attack while six others sustained injuries and were rushed to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri, Imo State.
“The Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Ahmed Barde, has ordered for a discreet investigation into the incident, promising that the command will go all out in ensuring that the perpetrators of this dastardly act are arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law.”