Two traditional rulers met their untimely death as dozens more have been wounded at Nnenasa in Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria’s South-East, after gunmen opened fire on them, killing them instantly.
Mike Abattam, the spokesperson for the Police in Imo State and Chief Superintendent of Police, has confirmed the incidence and noted that the Police is investigating the killings to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the incident.
The gunmen stormed a meeting of some traditional rulers and stakeholders at Nnenasa and opened fire, killing the two traditional rulers instantly.
The shooting caused those at the meeting to scamper for safety. “The gunmen shot sporadically, hitting the traditional rulers in the process and left the scene almost immediately,” an eye witness recounted.
The slain traditional rulers have been identified as E. Duruebere of Okwudor autonomous community, and Sampson Osunwa of Ihebinowerre autonomous community, both in Njaba.
According to reports, many people at the scene sustained various degrees of injuries, with some in critical condition.
The state governor, Hope Uzodinma, has condemned the killings and assured that the government is on top of the situation and promised that the attackers would be brought to justice.
However, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet. It is the latest in a series of attacks blamed on criminal gangs operating in the region. Separatist groups agitating for a breakaway Biafra state have been active in the area.
Imo State is regarded as the epicentre of the pro-Biafra group called the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), whose operations are focussed in the South-east.
Nigeria has witnessed several killings and destruction of properties in the different parts of the country.
Gunmen kill at least 43 in Northern Nigeria
In a separate incidence, gunmen have killed at least 43 people in an attack in northern Nigeria’s Sokoto state, the Governor’s office reported. Sokoto Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, revealed that the assault began at a weekly market in Goronyo.
Over the years, gunmen across north-western Nigeria have killed scores of people and kidnapped hundreds more for ransom over the past year in a security crisis that the government is trying to tackle via communications blackouts, military operations and stepped up policing.
Iliyasu Abba, a local resident and trader, said that there were over 60 bodies at Goronyo General Hospital mortuary and that others sustained injuries while escaping.
“The gunmen stormed the market as it was crowded with shoppers and traders, they started shooting on us after they surrounded the market, firing at every direction killing people.”Iliyasu Abba
Abba said the gunmen had at least initially overpowered police who tried to intervene.
The state government has also ordered shut of all telephone and internet services in the whole of Zamfara state. The blackout has been extended to parts of Katsina, Sokoto and Kaduna states as military operations intensify.
Nigeria’s top general noted that the telecoms blackout would be maintained because it is helping the armed forces crack down on the bandits. But the closure has made it hard to know what is happening in the affected areas, and has disrupted daily life and business for millions.
Tambuwal has so far, requested more security forces in Sokoto and the deployment of more resources.
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