Hoodlums enforcing a five-day sit-at-home order declared by a self-styled Biafran separatist, Simon Ekpa, have set ablaze a vehicle and some motorcycles at Nwakpu Market in Ndufu Alike, Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi State.
An eyewitness, who spoke to LEADERSHIP on the ground of anonymity, said that the hoodlums, who were putting on black attires with a hood, stormed the market, which is few metres away from the State deputy governor’s house and Alex Ekwueme Federal University, and shot sporadically.
One person said to be the driver of a vehicle set ablaze by the suspected terrorists was allegedly shot as he attempted to put out the fire.
The development disrupted activities in and around the market as traders and passers-by fled the scene and scampered for safety.
The source said: “the gunmen came into the market and ordered traders and shop owners to vacate the market, and should observe the sit-at-home order.
“The gunmen after dispersing the traders and shop owners, set ablaze a vehicle and while the owner whose name is yet to be identified attempted to put out the fire, they (gunmen) shot him on the hip and legs.
“It is not certain if the victim survived the gunshot injuries as he was immediately rushed to an undisclosed hospital in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital.
“The attack affected economic activities and other businesses in the area.”
Meanwhile, the sit-at-home order slightly paralysed activities at the capital city, as fuel stations, banks and event centres were shut down following the fear of Monday attack at Aha ofoh.
Confirming the incident, the Commander of Ebubeagu security outfit, Mr. Friday Nnanna Ujor, said the attackers were not members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), but hoodlums who invaded the Nwakpu market to rob traders of their belongings.
According to him: “What happened was that some boys invaded the Nwakpu market to rob traders. They (gunmen) are not members of IPOB. This is because they (gunmen) came into the market with locally made pistol.
“Ebubeagu is on ground to arrest those boys because we know the clothes they (gunmen) are wearing and so we are after them.
“We are on track to get them. We are putting on our searchlight on them to arrest them. From now till tomorrow, we will apprehend them,” he stated.
Also, when contacted for reaction, the State’s Commissioner of Police, CP Aliyu Garba, said he was on transit and can’t respond.
Also, when contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Chris Anyanwu, explained that he was not aware of the incident and promised to get the details.