By Chinonso Alozie, Owerri
A stray bullet from a fight between rival cult groups reportedly hit a man in Umuoma, Nekede in Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State.
South-East Voice was told that the man whose name was not made available as at press time, was at about 7:30 pm on his way to buy bread for his family.
Also, three persons have been reportedly killed by a cult-related brawl in Nekede in the same Owerri West Local Government Area.
Just as Kelechi Obilonu who spoke to South-East Voice said, his younger brother, Mr. Chidi Obilonu who was said to have been killed in Umuoma was not a cultist. The names of those behind his death have been mentioned.
Speaking to South-East Voice in Owerri, the Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Orlando Ikeokwu said he has not been properly briefed and that he would give details on the issue later.
On the man knocked down by a stray bullet, a source narrated to South-East Voice that “the killings have been too much. Three cult members were killed by rival cult groups during the weekend. It started on Thursday night and continued till Saturday night. The incident happened in Umuoma, Nekede in Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State.
“The man was killed by a stray bullet. He is from Orlu Local Government Area of the state, he is married with children. He went out on Thursday night to buy bread for his family. Unfortunately for him, he was shot dead by the bullet of the cultists when they were exchanging gunfire. This incident happened between 7:00 and 8:00 pm.”
He said: “The second victim of the attack, Mr. Cyriacus Ekejiuba, is a native of Isiekenesi, Ideato South Local Government Area of the state and a tenant in our place. The suspected assassins stormed the beer parlour where his late brother and some others were having their drinks. The hoodlums opened fire on the people and snatched phones. The shot silenced Mr. Ekejiuba who came to buy something in the shop. As people struggled to leave the beer parlour, the hoodlums shot my brother in his hand but he tried to run away from the scene. The armed men gave him a hot chase.
“Three or four other members of the gang blocked my brother. He was shot a second time in his back but he kept running. He later fell down at a spot and when the hoodlums saw where he was lying, they shot him a third time near his ear as if to ensure that he did not live to tell the story. The hoodlums ran away thereafter.
“When I got to the scene, I quickly called some of the policemen from Nekede Division. I was privileged to have their numbers and they responded in good time. When they noticed that my brother was dead, they detained one of them to follow me to the morgue where we deposited him.
“I was still at the mortuary when some of my relations called to tell me that the police had apprehended some of the hoodlums that carried out the condemnable act. At the police station, I was told that six of them had been arrested.
“I was told that the police recovered guns which included AK47, a service pistol and a locally made pistol from the suspects. We were not shown the recovered guns but we were there when they took one of the suspects to where they made some other arrests,” Obilonu added.
Obilonu dismissed the assumption that the killing was cult-related and quickly added that “the suspects were arrested at Umualum Nekede. My late brother is a refined gentleman who was into the shooting of Nollywood films, courtesy of my elder sister that is an actress.”
He added that the suspects have mentioned the name of an alleged high profile figure they claimed to be working for.