OWERRI – Gunmen on Friday morning killed five policemen at the Okpala Junction in the Ngor Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State.
Also killed were a couple identified as Mr and Mrs Chinaka Nwagu who hailed from Amankwo Okpala community.
The incident has thrown the junction and the entire community into a state of panic as commercial activities had abruptly come to end.
A source who identified himself as Uche and a relative to the couple told our correspondent that the slain cops drove from neighbouring Abo Mbaise police division to eat at the junction.
He said that while the policemen were eating, some gunmen drove to the scene and opened fire on them.
He said that while three policemen were shot dead at the scene, two others ran to a nearby shot but their attackers raced to the shop and killed them and equally killed a couple who owned the shop they ran into.
The eyewitness disclosed that after killing the policemen, the gunmen carted away their five rifles.
The source said, “It is a black Friday in our community. Gunmen around 8am shot five policemen dead at Okpala junction. The policemen drove in a white coloured Hilux from Aboh Mbaise Police Division to eat at the junction.
“As they were eating, gunmen drove to the place and opened fire on them. Two out of the five policemen ran to a nearby shop where a couple sold meat pie and sachet water. After killing the three policemen, they came two the shop where the two other officers were hiding, and killed them. They also killed a husband and wife that owned the shop.
“They took away their rifles and drove off. This is so unfortunate. Our community is bleeding. Everybody is confused. The couple just relocated from Lagos about one year ago. We just deposited their bodies in a mortuary. The market is shut. People here ran away out of shock and fear. This is unbelievable.”
Another source, Dominic Okpor, told our correspondent that he saw the lifeless bodies of the cops on the road when he drove through the Owerri – Aba Road.
Okpor described it as horrible. “The bodies of the five policemen were lying on the road as we drove through. Their Hilux was also parked at the junction. The scene was horrible. It is terrible. God have mercy.”
When contacted, the spokesperson for the police in the state, Henry Okoye, said that he had yet to be briefed on murder incident.
He however promised to make enquiries and revert to our correspondent but he had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.
Our correspondent recalls that on March 27 some fleeing gunmen ambushed and killed five personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in the same Ngor Okpala LGA. (The PUNCH)