ABAKALIKI (Sundiata Post) – There is tension in Abakaliki, capital of Ebonyi State, on Monday as residents of the state were seen running from one location to the other, following the enforcement of the sit-at-home order by the factional leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Simon Ekpa.
Following the development, keke riders, commuters, motorcyclists and other road users were seen on top speed racing to any safe location within the state.
Most residents who had left their homes in the early hours of Monday, made frantic efforts to seek refuge in any nearby compound or residential area, so as not to be victims of any circumstance.
It was gathered that there was confusion in some popular markets, including Ahia-ofu, Kpirikpiri, the International market and the Ebebe market in Abakaliki.
It was learnt that Ekpa’s disciples were seen around Ebebe market allegedly shooting sporadically, which made passersby to start running for safety.
It was gathered that a confirmed number of persons were allegedly killed, following the enforcement by the IPOB faction.
The incident led to killings in Ahia-ofu as many were seen running around waterworks road, Mbukogbe, Ezza Road, Udensi Street as unknown made efforts to ensure that the sit-at-home order was adhered to by the resident of the State.
Customers who went to a new generation bank for financial transactions were trapped in the bank for fear of becoming victims.
A resident of Abakaliki (names withheld) while narrating his ordeal said: “I am taking refuge in a hotel now. I went to buy a recharge card opposite the government house when I saw people running helter-skelter.
“People hurriedly parked their things inside their shops while traffic Policemen on duty opposite government house immediately changed their clothes.
“I drove out of that area following heavy gunshots to Kpirikpiri, where the road is deserted. People have parked their things inside their shops along that old Enugu road.
“If you are still in your houses, remain there until calm returns.”
Another resident added: “Am also taking refuge in a colleague’s abode. I ran from site, just before Spera-in-Deo junction, I heard gunshots and people were running for safety. I managed to get to Agwu street from convent road.”
An eye witness account revealed that “Security operatives are around Kpirikpiri trying to bring peace and order”.
When our Correspondent visited some locations in the state, major streets within the metropolis were deserted as few persons were seen trekking to their locations.
Also on Monday, troops of the Nigerian Army reportedly invaded Obeagu Community in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Some community leaders who spoke to our correspondent on Monday morning, said the troops who invaded the community around 5am, had been shooting sporadically and allegedly burning some houses.
The soldiers were said to have entered the community with 10 Hilux vehicles and seven armored tanks with over 100 military personnel.
It was not clear why the military invaded the community, however, nobody had been reported killed so far. Only one woman was said to have been hit by stray bullet.
Confirming the invasion, a community leader and immediate past councillor of the community said, “We woke up this morning with military gunshots. As I am speaking everybody is on the run. Soldiers are shooting in all the communities. All the Eha-Amufu people that ran to our community after Fulani herdsmen sacked them are also on the run with residents.”
Another resident, Ogbuabor Sunday told our correspondent that they were in the morning mass, Catholic early morning prayer, when the soldiers rolled tanks to the community.
“I was in the church this early morning around around 5:30pm when military vehicles numbering over 30 including armored tanks rolled into the community. Shortly after they started shooting sporadically. None of the people who came to church this morning had gone home. I am answering this call inside the bush,” Ogbuabor said.
However, our correspondent gathered that the invading soldiers were asking some women and aged people arrested, where is the camp of the Indigenous People of Biafra located in the community.
Recall that on October 13, 2022 armed herdsmen invaded the community and killed one person, wounded two and kidnapped three which the community paid millions in ransom to secure their release.
Also recall that armed herdsmen invaded the community on March 29, 2021 and killed 21 people. In all the invasion neither the soldiers nor police intervened in the attack that lasted for nearly 12hrs. (Baed on reports by Vanguard and The PUNCH)