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Retired police officer, four others murdered in Imo by gunmen suspected to be cultists

Gunmen suspected to be cultists, on Thursday, killed five persons in the Ilile community in the Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.

The incident, which occurred around 3am, caused pandemonium in the agrarian community.

A community source, who did not want his name in print, told our correspondent that the victims included a retired police officer, identified simply as Mr Ukpabi; the immediate past President-General of the community, Napoleon Amadi; a member of the vigilante group in the community, Uwagwu Eze, and two others.

The source said others, who sustained bullets wounds, had been hospitalised.

The gunmen, our correspondent learnt, invaded the victims’ homes and shot their targets before fleeing.

The source said, “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 the vigilante group in our community, Uwagwu Eze, and two others.

“Three persons died on the spot, while the two others died in hospitals. Others are lying critically injured in hospitals. The attackers invaded their victims’ homes around 3am and shot them. They killed the victims in their houses while they were asleep. It was indeed a tragedy.”

On what led to the killings, the source explained, “It was purely cultism. I don’t know the names of the warring cults, but the attacks were cult-related. This is indeed too much to bear. I can’t believe it.”

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, said three persons were killed.

Ikeokwu said he could not confirm if the killings were cult-related but noted that the State Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Ladodo, had ordered a thorough investigation into the matter with a view to bringing the killers to justice.

“I can confirm that three persons were killed. But I cannot confirm if the attacks were cult-related, because the assailants came and shot their targets. The CP has ordered a thorough investigation into the killings with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice,” the PPRO stated.

Our correspondent recalls that the community has been a battleground for the Dey Gbam and Iceland confraternities for a while. -PUNCH

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