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Gunmen on rampage in Ebonyi, banks shut — and residents flee

Ebonyi State residents ran for their lives, on Monday, when gunmen suspected to members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) invaded Abakaliki, capital of the state.

According to Daily Trust, markets, banks and filling stations which opened earlier in the day closed down as sounds of gunshot rend the air.

The gunmen, who reportedly wore masks, razed a section of Ahịa Ofú market located along the Abakaliki-Enugu highway.

The action of the group was said to be part of the enforcement of the five days sit-at home order declared in the region.

The sit-at-home began on Friday but Ebonyi residents defied it.

However, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Chris Anyanwu, said there was cause for alarm.

Anyanwu who said no one was killed in the incident, promised to give details later.

“There is no cause for alarm, Ebonyi State is calm. However, if anything in the contrary is confirmed, I will come up with update/briefs, pls, “he said in a statement.

The development comes after the head office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was burnt in Imo State.

At the weekend, no fewer than 10 people were reportedly killed in Anambra, Enugu and Imo states as hoodlums held the three states hostage for most hours of Friday and Saturday.

The details came in as police announced the mobilisation of its intelligence and operational assets to reign in the rampaging gunmen.

Reports from the area said the current spate of killings, escalated with the order for a 5-day stay-out-home issued by self-styled spokesman of the proscribed group, Simon Ekpa, starting from Thursday.

Finland-based Ekpa, who gained relevance in the activities of the outlawed group following the arrest and prosecution of IPOB’s leader Nnamdi Kanu by the federal government, on December 6 via his social media accounts announced a total lockdown of the South East from December 9 to 14.

He, however, said, there won’t be a lockdown on December 13.

Gunmen, who operated on Friday in Owerri – Okigwe Road in Imo State as well as Umunachi in the Isiala Mbano LGA of the state and Umunna in the Onuimo LGA killed at least 10 people, according to witnesses’ accounts.

The gunmen also kidnapped two expatriates supervising the ongoing construction of phase II of the Owerri-Okigwe Road. The foreign workers, who are said to be staff of German construction giant, Cremburg, were kidnapped at Umunachi after two people suspected to be their security aides were killed.

Another killing occurred at Umunna junction, where gunmen reportedly opened fire and killed two people. The footage of the two men lying in the pool of their blood has gone viral.

A witness, Isa Adamu, aka Ike, said no fewer than eight people were killed by gunmen in Umunna town on Friday, including some mechanics who had gone to repair a vehicle in the town.

Owerri, the state capital, was not spared as the rampaging gunmen also killed Prince Chidi Iheme, the elder brother to Nollywood actor, Osita Iheme, popularly known as Pawpaw.

Iheme was killed at Ubomiri in Mbaitoli LGA of the state while on a campaign rally organised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Federal Constituency, Akarachi Amadi.

He was said to be in the same car with the state Commissioner for Solid Minerals, Martin Eke, who is currently recuperating from machete cuts inflicted on him by their attackers.

While condemning the attack, Akarachi in a statement by his media aide, Darlington Irobi, mourned the passing of Iheme.

In Enugu, the hoodlums were said to have killed two people at Park Lane while videos of other killings in the state also went viral.

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