Tension in Imo community as irate youths set police station ablaze
By Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
Irate youths from Umuoke community in Obowo Local Government Area of Imo State have allegedly torched the Obowo Divisional Police Station, following an alleged killing of a youth in the community by a trigger-happy police officer.
The deceased youth, Ikenna Ogbunigwe was allegedly shot and killed by a police officer in a restaurant in the town over a minor quarrel on Sunday.
Ogbunigwe, who was rushed to the Mercy Hospital in Umuoke by some youths after being shot was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.
Ogbunigwe’s death, Orient Daily learnt, triggered off protests with the irate protesters reportedly broke into the station, sack police officers on duty before setting the station on fire.
The officers on ground reportedly fled into the bush for their lives after losing the bid to control the angry mob and defend the facility. The mob also allegedly carted away firearms and other exhibits at the station and releasing detainees.
It was gathered that the Divisional Police Officer of the affected station was taken to safety by his colleagues after the mob attempted to lynch him.
Eye-witnesses told journalists that Ogbunigwe’s corpse was taken to the police station in protest before the station was set ablaze.
According to the witnesses, trouble started when Ogbunigwe confronted the police officer over a minor argument at a restaurant in the town. “The police officer pulled his trigger on the deceased, shooting sporadically when other youths tried to apprehend him over the killing of the young man and managed to escape”, the source said.
Meanwhile, the Imo state commissioner of police, Rabiu Ladodo, who confirmed the incident has vowed that operatives of the police command would get to the root of the matter.
“I am here now at Obowo where the youth burnt one of the police stations. I am presently there now. An incident happened yesterday (Sunday) where one policeman said to have shot somebody to death. So, they now retaliated. I am trying to rescue the policemen who ran into the bush,” Ladodo said, assuring that the situation is under control.
The Imo incident happened less that 24 hours after some gunmen raided a police station in Agudama community of Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, killing four officers, including a pregnant woman. Sources in the community were quoted as saying the attackers also made away with the rifles and ammunition during the operation that lasted hours.