Tension In Imo As Unknown Gunmen Killed Seven Suya Sellers
Gunmen murdered seven suya sellers in Imo State on Friday and Saturday, causing tension.
According to an eyewitness, Harisu Ishiaku, the alleged killers raided the Afor Umuaka Market around 8.30pm, accosted the victims in their shops, and shot them.
He said four of the victims were between the ages of 30 and 45 and had lived in the area for a long time without encountering any problems or being targeted by members of the group.
While suspecting the attackers of being strangers in the land, Ishiaku noted that there had never been any conflict between the traders and the Umuaka group before.
According to Mallam Ibrahim Abdulkadir, the Imo State Coordinator of Hausa Traders, the first incident occurred on Friday as three suya (roasted meat) vendors were about to close for the day when gunmen in a Sienna car appeared out of nowhere and fired at them.
He said that gunmen in the same vehicle killed four Hausa traders at Umuaka in a similar commando-style attack.
According to Abdulkadir, Hausa traders in Orlu are now living in fear because some have moved to Owerri.
“Actually, this thing began on April 2,” he said. Three people had been killed by some men driving a Siena car, I was told. Suya vendors were assassinated just as they were about to shut their shop for the night.
“Just as we were about to deal with the case, I got a call yesterday (Saturday) that four people had been killed by the same people.
Our correspondent learned that the victims’ bodies had been transported to Owerri in preparation for Muslim burial rites.
Ibrahim Sulaiman, the Governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Gender, Vulnerable Groups, and Northern Affairs (Men), said the state government and security agencies were on top of the situation.
The SA said Governor Hope Uzodimma was upset by the incident and was ready to bring the perpetrators to justice while calling for peace.
“We just wrapped up a meeting with state government officials and heads of security agencies. They’ve stepped in to ensure that the situation is resolved in a peaceful manner. We can’t keep on like this. For the sake of our country’s peace and stability, we must nip this in the bud,” Sulaiman said.
He encouraged his northern brothers to retain their composure and act as their brothers’ keeper at all times.
He expressed regret that the situation was getting out of control, while claiming that the killings were politically motivated by people who never wished the government and people of Imo State well.
Sulaiman told the northern community that the state government was committed to putting an end to the attacks.
Attempts to contact Orlando Ikeokwu, the Police Public Relations Officer, were ineffective because his phones suggested that he was unavailable.
As of the time of filing this article, he had not replied to a text message sent to his cellphone.