Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri
Two persons have been killed by gunmen who invaded the Afaor-Awo Market in Awo¬-Omamma community, in the Oru East Local Government Area of Imo State.
The gunmen were said to be chasing a member of their gang when they stormed the market and shot continuously, forcing traders to close their shops and scamper for safety.
A witness, who does not want to be identified, said two persons, including a five-year-old boy, were killed during the attack.
He added that the man being chased had absconded with the ransom collected during a kidnap operation of the gang.
The witness said, “The hoodlums, numbering three, went on a kidnap operation early this year, but one of them, popularly known as Orjiwuagu from Umuifa, Ubachima Awo Omamma, ran away with the ransom, said to be millions of naira.
“He was said to have used part of the money to buy a Lexus car and commenced building a house while living large in the village. His gang members traced him to the village and upon sighting them, he drove towards the Afor Awo Market where thousands of traders were selling.
“His gang members gave him a hot chase as he ran into the market to escape. That was when bullets started hitting people; the most painful death was that of a little boy of five years. He was the only son of his father. A man who owned a motorcycle spare parts shop in the market, Emeka, also died.”
A spokesperson for the state police command, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the incident.
He said stray bullets hit the victims, whom he identified as Emeka Igboanusi, Bright Akubueze, Aghaluke Ugoma, Ebere Idamatam and Chukwueloka Idamatam.
Ikeokwu said while Idamatam died on the spot, Igboanusi was pronounced dead at a hospital.
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