By Edward Nnachi and Chidiebube Okeoma
Gunmen on Wednesday unleashed mayhem on two communities in Ebonyi and Imo states.
In Ndufu-Alike community, in the Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, the hoodlums attacked the popular Nwakpu Market.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the hoodlums shot a car owner in the head and set his vehicle ablaze.
A community source said the gunmen stormed the market in the morning when traders who came from the hinterland had opened for business.
Nwakpu Market is opposite the country home of the Ebonyi State Deputy Governor, Eric Kelechi.
The source said, “The gunmen came into the market and ordered traders and shop owners to vacate the market. They also told them to observe the sit-at-home.
“After dispatching the traders and shop owners, the gunmen set ablaze a vehicle. As the vehicle owner attempted to put out the fire, they shot him in the head and legs.”
Our correspondents gathered that economic activities were also halted in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital, as filling stations, banks and event centres were shut down.
The Commander of the Ebubeagu Security Outfit in the state, Mr Friday Nnanna, said the attackers were not members of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
He said, “What happened was that some boys invaded the Nwakpu Market to rob traders. They were not IPOB members because they came into the market with locally-made pistols.
“Ebubeagu is on ground to arrest those boys; we know the clothes they wore. Between now and tomorrow, we will apprehend them.”
The Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi State, Aliyu Garba, said he was on transit and could not respond to enquiries on the incident.
A splinter IPOB group had last Friday announced that there would be sit-at-home between December 9 and 14, 2022, warning that anyone seen outside during the period would be killed.
But IPOB, through its spokesman, Emma Powerful, distanced itself from the order, saying the idea was anti-people and negated its principle.
Gunmen also attacked Isinweke community in the Ihitte-Uboma LGA of Imo State.
The attack came just 48 hours after gunmen in four vehicles invaded the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Owerri, the state capital.
The invasion led to the death of three gunmen and a policeman.
PUNCH Metro gathered that in the latest attack, the gunmen, who operated from vehicles, asked business owners to close for the day and go home, as they shot into the air.
A source said, “They attacked Isinweke community, which is the commercial hub of Isinweke Local Government Area. They shot indiscriminately and ordered business people to go home immediately. They burnt some motorcycles and ended up closing the market for the day.”
The state police command spokesperson, Micheal Abattam, had yet to issue a statement on the incident.