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Suspected cultists murder ex-police officer, community leader in Imo

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By Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri

No fewer than five persons were gruesomely murdered on Thursday by gunmen suspected to be cultists in Ilile community in Ohaji/Egbemalocal government area of Imo state.

Ilile community has been a battle ground for Dey Gbam and Iceland confraternities for a while with both groups involving in the kidnap of travellers on Owerri-Port Harcourt road.

The tragedy which occurred early Thursday morning around 3am, saw the cultists killing a retired police officer, simply identified as Mr. Ukpabi and immediate past president general of the community, Napoleon Amadi.

A community source, who spoke in condition of anonymity, said that other persons who were killed included a member of the vigilante group in the community, UwagwuEze and two others.

The community source told our correspondent that others who were wounded by bullets were hospitalised.

The gunmen, our correspondent learnt, invaded several families, shot their targets before fleeing in the wee hours, our correspondent learnt.

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 vigilante group in our community, UwagwuEze and two others. ”

“Three persons died on the spot while two others died at the hospitals. Several others are lying critically. They invaded their families around 3am and shot them.They killed them in their houses while they were asleep.They visited them one after the other in their households. It was indeed a tragedy.”

On what led to the killings, the source said ” it was purely cultism. I don’t know the names of the warring cult groups but they were cult related.This is indeed too much to bear. I can’t believe it.

When contacted, the police public relations officers in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, said it was only three persons that were killed. Ikeokwu, said that he could not confirm if the killings were cult related but he however said that the state commissioner of police, RabiuLadodo, had ordered a full blown investigation into the matter with a view to bringing the killers to justice.

He said ” I can confirm that three persons were killed. But I cannot confirm if it was cult related because they came and shot their targets. The CP had ordered a full-blown investigation into the killings with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice. “

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