Gunmen suspected to be cultists on Thursday morning killed five persons in Ilile community, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
The incident occurred around 3am in the agrarian community.
A community source reported that some of the persons who were killed included a retired Police officer simply identified as Mr. Ukpabi; the immediate past president-general of the community, Napoleon Amadi; a member of vigilante group in the community, Uwagwu Eze; and two others.
The community source revealed that others who were wounded by bullets have been hospitalised.
The gunmen, it was learnt, invaded their victims’ homes, and shot their targets before fleeing.
“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 vigilante group in our community, Uwagwu Eze; and two others.
“Three persons died on the spot, while two others died at the hospitals where they were taken to.
“Several others are lying critically injured on account of injuries sustained during the attacks.”
Continuing, the source said, “They invaded the victims’ family homes around 3am and shot them. They killed them in their houses while they were asleep.
“They visited them one after the other in their households. It was, indeed, a tragedy.”
On what led to the killings, the source said, “It was purely cultism. I don’t know the names of the warring cult groups, but they were cult-related. This is, indeed, too much to bear. I can’t believe it.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officers in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the incident but said three persons were killed, and not five as claimed by our source.
Ikeokwu said he could not confirm if the killings were cult-related but he said that the state Commissioner of Police, Rabui Ladodo, had ordered comprehensive investigation into the matter.
He said, “I can confirm that three persons were killed. But I cannot confirm if it was cult-related.
“The CP has ordered a full-blown investigation into the killings, with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice.”