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10 feared killed in community, villagers seek protection

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 Taiwo Lakanu

Taiwo Lakanu

Tension has enveloped Assa community in Ohaji/Egbema Local Council of Imo State following the alleged killing of about 10 persons by suspected cult members.

The villagers have, therefore, called on the state government to give them adequate security.

The Guardian gathered at the weekend that many villagers have fled their ancestral homes for safety.

Others, including aged ones, locked themselves in their homes.

Besides, a young man, Vitalis Uwalaka, was said to have been shot dead by unknown assailants while returning to his business base in Owerri, the state capital.

The victim’s brother, Kingsley, who spoke with The Guardian, said people in the community had been living in fear.

Meanwhile, The Guardian learnt that the grouse was aggravated by some aggrieved persons who felt they were short-changed and did not benefit from funds given to the community by oil firms operating in the area. They preferred to launch attacks against those they either felt were beneficiaries, supporting or keeping silent on the matter.

Also, a source said that a taxi driver was beheaded, while a hair-stylist, a commercial motorcyclist and a pregnant woman were among those shot dead.

He said: “This thing started in March. In the last one week, nine people have been killed. My brother was also killed. A pregnant woman selling fish and her husband who was commercial okada (motorcyclist) were killed. There is nobody going to market, school and church. My brother, who was killed, had his machine carried away.”

Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Public Utilities, Dr. Vitalis Orikeze Ajumbe, denied the allegation that the state government was not providing the community with security. He stated that about two weeks ago, he accompanied the deputy governor, Eze Madumere and other security chiefs in the state to visit the community.

He urged the aggrieved persons to give prompt information to the police and other security operatives.

Police Commissioner Taiwo Lakanu said his command was working very hard to secure lives and property in that area and all parts of the 27 local councils of the state.


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