By Izunna Okafor, Awka
No fewer than four persons reportedly died, while goods worth millions of naira were destroyed, as unidentified gunmen launched an attack on another community in Anambra State, barely two days after a deadly attack that led to the death of seven persons in another community in the state.
The latest attack was said to have badgered at Eke Awgbu Market in Awgbu community, Orumba North Local Government Area of the State at about 9.pm, Thursday.
It was gathered that the gunmen, during the attack, also set the market on fire. Three of the persons who died during the attack were said to have been gunned down by the gunmen, while they burnt the other person alive, right inside his shop where he was selling fuel.
Speaking on the suspected cause of the attack, a source and eyewitness from the village who pleaded anonymity, revealed that danger started raging in the area on Wednesday, May 17, when some hoodlums went for a criminal operation in Amaokpala, a neighbouring community to Awgbu.
It was gathered that, after their operation, the hoodlums wanted to escape through Awgbu community, which made the commercial cyclists (Okada riders) in Amaokpala to contact their colleagues operating at Awgbu Market and inform them that the hoodlums who attacked them were approaching to pass through the Eke Awgbu Market.
This, according to the source, made the commercial cyclists to team up with the local vigilante in the area, strategically position themselves and chase after the hoodlums, whom they eventually captured two of them, while others escaped.
The source, however revealed that, out of anger over what the people of the area had suffered in the hands of the hoodlums, some of the angry youths in the community who were at Eke Awgbu that day, started torturing the two captured hoodlums, until they eventually died in their hands. The youths also reportedly set the corpses of the hoodlums ablaze at the Market.
It was gathered that the gunmen, on Thursday night, stormed the community for retaliation. They were said to had first visited the office of the local vigilante of the community, but found no one there, which made them rush to the Eke Awgbu Market and start shooting sporadically, during which they gunned down three civilians, set a portion of the Market on fire, and also set one person (identified as Mr. Ofor) ablaze inside his shop.
The source further hinted that the local vigilante eventually came to the Market at about 12 midnight, long after the gunmen had left.
Although, there is a police station in Awgbu community, the source revealed that the station had not been operational for a long time now, given that the police officers attached to the station fled since the surge of gunmen attacks in different parts of the State.
All efforts made by this reporter to get the reactions of the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Anambra State, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, proved abortive, as he was yet to respond to enquiries sent to him on the incident, as at the time of this publication.