Parts of Owerri, Mbaitoli and environs in Imo State came under attacks on Friday afternoon by gunmen who were enforcing sit-at-home order.
The gunmen struck at different locations and killed a policeman, Prince Iheme, elder brother to Nollywood superstar, Osita Iheme popularly known as Pawpaw.
The gunmen also macheted the state Commissioner for Solid Minerals, Martin Eke.
The gunmen who rode in Tundra operational vehicles shot indiscriminately forcing people to scamper for safety.
While businesses abruptly closed, the roads were deserted as motorists abandoned their vehicles and ran away.
At Orji, a community sharing boundary with the state capital, the gunmen wearing black clothes in three vehicles attacked residents and passersby, including policemen.
Eyewitnesses told our correspondent that the gunmen met policemen at the 7Up junction at Orji and shot one cop dead.
He said, “They just killed a policeman now. They opened fire on them and were shouting, ‘There is sit-at-home. We have asked you to go home. Stay indoors.’”
Another eyewitness said, “I just escaped death now. They stopped before us and shot in the air and asked us to go home. They didn’t shoot at us maybe because I was in the midst of some elderly women.”
Our correspondent also gathered that the fleeing gunmen shot repeatedly at Nkwo Orji market before taking off towards Okigwe Road.
At Ubommiri in the Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo State, the gunmen attacked the convoy of the All Progressives Congress candidate for Mbaitoli/ Ikeduru Federal Constituency, Akarachi Amadi.
While Prince Iheme was killed on the spot, the state commissioner for Solid Minerals, Martin Eke, was cut with a machete.
An eyewitness who didn’t want to be mentioned said, “This attack is politically motivated. We just finished at one campaign rally ground and were heading to Ubommiri. Our convoy was attacked at Amawuihe before Ubommiri.
“Prince Iheme was riding in the same vehicle with the commissioner for solid minerals. Prince Iheme who is Pawpaw’s elder brother was killed on the spot. The commissioner who was sworn in two weeks ago was cut badly. He has just been rushed to a hospital. They were driving in a Ford SUV. I pray he makes it.”
The police spokesman for the command, Micheal Abattam, had yet to respond to an inquiry concerning the incidents.
In a related development, gunmen on Friday evening killed four persons at two locations on Owerri-Okigwe Road in Imo State.
The gunmen also kidnapped two expatriates supervising the ongoing construction of the phase 11 of the Owerri-Okigwe Road.
The killings occurred at Umunachi in the Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of the state and at Umuna in the Onuimo LGA, respectively.
The expatriates were kidnapped at Umunachi after two persons suspected to be their security aides were suspectedly brought down.
The expatriates who are staff of German construction giants, Cremburg, were taken away immediately the gunmen struck.
Locals told our correspondent that the fleeing suspects operated in three vehicles.
At Umuna junction, the gunmen opened fire and killed two persons.
Our correspondent saw a video footage where two young men were lying in the pool of their blood at Umuna.
An eyewitness said, ” They just killed these two men now at Umuna. This act was carried out by gunmen enforcing sit-at-home. This just happened now now. We are now afraid.”
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