Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Gunmen suspected to be cultists this morning went on the rampage killing a retired police officer, ex-president-general and three other persons in Ilile community in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo state.
According to a source, the tragedy which occurred around 3 am had left indigenes of the community scampering for safety.
According to him, among the persons killed included a retired police officer simply identified as Mr Ukpabi, the immediate past president-general of the community, Napoleon Amadi; a member of a vigilante group in the community, Uwagwu Eze and two others.
Also, the source disclosed that others who were wounded by stray bullets had been taken to a nearby hospital.
The gunmen, our correspondent learnt, invaded several homes, shot their targets before escaping.
“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 vigilance group in our community, Uwagwu Eze and two others. ”
“Three persons died on the spot while two others died in hospital. Several others are in critical condition. The cultists invaded their homes about 3am and shot them. They killed them 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 cultists. I don’t know the names of the warring cult groups but the killings 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, saying that three persons were killed.
Although Ikeokwu, said that he could not confirm if the killings were cult-related, he however noted that the state Commissioner of Police Rabiu Ladodo had ordered an investigation into the incident.
He said: “I can confirm that three persons were killed. But I cannot confirm if it was cult-related because they came and shot their targets. The CP has ordered a full- blown investigation into the killings with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice.”
It would be recalled that the community has been under in the grip of the deadly cult gangs known as Dey Gbam and Iceland confraternities.