There was massive outrage in Imo State yesterday following the cold-blooded murder of guests returning from a traditional wedding ceremony in Imo State.
No fewer than seven young men were shot and killed by persons suspected to be operatives of the Imo Vigilance group, known as Ebubeagu Security Outfit without provocation.
The gruesome episode which happened Sunday night in Awomamma in Oru West witnessed the killing of youths of Otulu community in neighbouring Oru East LGA who had accompanied their kinsman to his traditional wedding in Awomama, with five other young men still missing as at the time of filing this report.
The incident has further heightened the tension in the Orlu axis of the state where the Ebubeagu outfit has been severally accused of serial acts of impunity and extrajudicial killings.
The President General of Otulu Community, Nnamdi Agbor, who spoke to our correspondent on telephone said that seven young men were shot and killed Sunday night by the Ebubeagu operatives.
His words: “Youths from our community in Otulu had Sunday accompanied one of our brothers to Awomamma for his traditional wedding rites, at the end of the event, many of the youths who came on motorcycles offered to carry their brothers and they all rode back in a convoy of motorcycles.
“On their way home, around the Ishieke area of Awomamma, without any conversation or confrontation, the Ebubeagu operatives opened fire of the convoy of motorcycles killing seven persons on the spot.
While they abducted some of the wedding guests, some others escaped into the bush in a desperate flight for safety.
The Ebubeagu operatives took deliberate steps to make certain that the young men were dead. Those who still moved where finished off with a volley of bullets.
Miraculously, one of our sons was mistaken for dead, after the operatives moved to their vehicle, he fled into the nearby bush and disappeared into the night.
At about 1am, some of them that fled into the bush called me and I called some of our brave youths to go and rescue them from the forest that same night.
“By Monday morning, we mobilized a search party, accompanied by an Army patrol team and we returned to the scene of attack and received seven dead bodies of our sons with five others still missing with several others nursing bullet wounds.
As I speak to you, we are yet to be told the crime committed by our sons for which they were slaughtered like animals.”
Those killed whose bodies were recovered include Chigozie Obinwa, Chikere Anyadioha, Ifechi Ekesinachi, Emeka Ekesinachi, Aboy Ihegboro, and two others simply identified as Chijindu and Ozioma.
The President-General stressed that tension in the Otulu community has reached feverish pitch and they are battling to contain agitations of angry youths.
“Tempers are flying in our community and our people are angry. There is no justification whatsoever for these killings except for impunity and reckless use of firearms.
“Consequently, we have reported the incident to the security agencies.
The Commissioner of Police and the Commander of the 34 Brigade Command Obinze have visited. The DPO is also assisting.
“The wedding celebrant is Chijioke Nnanna. The Ebubeagu operatives also abducted his brother that same evening and one of the young men sent from our community to verify the shooting saw when they were bundling him away and made to explain to them that this was the brother of the celebrant, he was also bundled into their truck and whisked away to Oru East were they were held and only freed this afternoon.”
According to the President- General, those still in the hospital are Oluebube Agbor and Thank- God Iheukwumere. When contacted, the state Police spokesperson, CSP Micheal Abattam, confirmed the incident and said that the Commissioner of Police has ordered investigations into the killing.