From george onyejiuwa,Owerri
There was pandermoniun Tuesday afternoon in Owerri, the Imo State capital, as gunmen mounted an attack on Orji Police Station.
A street trader in fries bean cakes (“Akara”) and yams was killed by a stray bullet reportedly fired by a combined team of the military and police who had arrived at the station to repel the gunmen.
According to eyewitness accounts, four black-clad four gunmen stormed the Orji Police Division in an Innoson Hilux vehicle and opened fire, sending officers scampering for safety .
Some of the officers sustained injuries.
The gunmen reportedly operated for over 45 minutes and left the scene before the arrival of a combined military-police team shooting sporadically into the air.
‘Before the arrival of the police, the gunmen had already left the scene, but when police arrived with the police commissioner they started looking for scape goats and any one who looked suspicious was promptly arrested,’ a witness said. ‘It was also the stray bullets fired by the security agents that hit and killed a woman who fries Akara and yams in the area.’
Over 40 armed security men took over the Government House Round About and stopped all vehicular and pedastrian movements in response to the attack.
Following the shootings, traders and banks in the surrounding areas shut down operations to avoid being victims.
Police Command spokesman Bala Elkana said that officers had repelled some hoodlums who tried to burn down the reconstructed Orji Police Divsion.
His statement said that ‘on 25th May, 2021, at about 1302 hours, some hoodlums in their numbers launched an offensive on the reconstruction site of Orji Divisional Headquarters which was earlier burnt by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protests in 2020. A philanthropist [was] contracted [for] the reconstruction project.
‘The hoodlums, who believed that the re-establishement of a functional police station may prevent them from carrying out their nefarious acts in Orji and environs, decided to invade the construction site.’
‘Before the arrival of reinforcement team, the hoodlums melted into the neighbouring townships area but abandoned their operational vehicles. The Commissioner of Police, Imo State, CP Abutu Yaro, fdc personally led an enforcement team to the scene.
‘The whole area was cordoned and five suspects, namely Chigaemezu Sabastine, ‘m’, 26 years old, Casmir Ibe, ‘m’, 36 years old, John Chinonso, ‘m’, 24y ears old, Chukwudi Okoro, ‘m’, 28 years, and Alozie Daberechi, ‘m’, 25 years old, were arrested. No life was lost. Three vehicles were recovered.’