Tragedy struck in the early hours of Saturday, specifically at about 5.30am, when unidentified gunmen stormed Ezillo community in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, killing 52 persons and destroyed property worth millions of naira.
Also killed in the mayhem, was a Divisional Police Officer (DPO), name withheld, attached to the Ezillo divisional police station.
An eyewitness, Mr Ikechukwu Eze, told newsmen, who accompanied Governor Martin Elechi to the community at Ezillo, that the assassins besieged the community in six buses early in the morning and started shooting sporadically at the villagers which left many dead, while a number of houses were also set ablaze.
Victims of the mayhem included children between the ages of 2 and 10 years as well as the aged.
According to him, “We woke up this morning and saw unknown people who stormed our village and started shooting people. There are some people whose entire households have been wiped out,” he declared.
Governor Martin Elechi, who visited the community in company of the state Commissioner of Police, Adeniji Adeleke, shed tears at the gory sight, as dead bodies littered the scene of the incident.
The governor urged the villagers to remain calm as government would use every means to fish out the perpetrators of the heinous crimes.
Another eyewitness, Mr Jacob Ogodo, told reporters that his entire family had been wiped out, noting that all his credentials were destroyed by the assassins.
Meanwhile, the Ezillo axis of Abakaliki/Enugu expressway has been closed to traffic to forestall motorists and commuters falling victims to the tragedy.
It will be recalled that communal clashes and conflict, had in 2007, erupted between the Ezillo community and their Ezza/Ezillo neighbours resulting in the loss of lives and destruction of property.
The Federal Government had, at different times, drafted a combined team of mobile policemen and military officers to the community to restore peace and order.