Suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have killed 13 Hausa traders within one week in Enugu and Imo States, in what community leaders and security sources described as targeted killings by members of the outlawed group.
Many police personnel have been killed and facilities torched in escalating attacks on security agents in the south-eastern and south-south regions.
Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Sunday, preached peace on a visit to Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital where he condoled the people and government of the state over last Monday’s killings in Egedegede, Ishielu Local Government Area.
In the latest attack on civilians of northern extraction, four butchers were gunned down by assailants in military camouflage who stormed the Afor Umuaka market around 8:30 pm on Saturday.
In Enugu, last Monday, at least six persons were killed during a targeted attack at Adani Community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State.
One of the victims was a prominent Hausa trader, said to have resided in the area for over 30 years.
“Unknown dozens of gunmen invaded Adani, a major town in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area, Enugu State, opened fire on citizens, specifically targeting the Hausa community, six people were killed and several others unaccounted for as they were allegedly kidnapped by the assailants.
“Muhammed Danyunku, a prominent leader, who lived there for more than 30 years was among those killed,” a source told Akelicious.
The state’s police command confirmed the attack but did not comment on the casualty figures.
Daily Trust was informed that trouble began at a place popularly called Presco Junction as some herdsmen reportedly shot a young farmer from Igga Community, who also was working at Adarice Factory in Adani, on matters of misunderstanding between the two parties.
The alleged attackers (shooting-herdsmen) were said to have blocked the way of sympathisers who attempted to rush the victim to the hospital, thereby attracting the members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) to the scene. The ESN men then reportedly embarked on sporadic shootings and razing of houses alongside other valuables worth millions of naira.
But another version of the incident claimed that it was in the attempt to revive the wounded farmer-factory worker that a group of unidentified angry young men riding on motor-bikes arrived at the scene and shot sporadically at those causing the blockade and preventing the victim from being taken to hospital.
Natives, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed that hunters and local vigilantes had encountered some strange faces suspected to be operatives of ESN, in the forest around the area, who informed them that they were not searching for any law-abiding residents.
It was gathered that many residents of the area have reportedly taken a quick flight to neighbouring communities in Nsukka and Igboetiti Local Council Areas, in the aftermath of the attack.
In Imo, seven persons were killed in three separate shooting incidents in Orlu town and Umuaka in Njaba Local Government Area. The attacks occurred on Wednesday and Thursday in Orlu and on Saturday in Umuaka.
The recent killings, according to leaders of Hausa communities in the area, upped death tolls in similar circumstances to 12, since the violence that trailed the EndSARS protests in the area, in August 2020.
Narrating the incident to newsmen, an eyewitness, Harisu Umaru Ishiaku, said that the killers, dressed in military uniform, stormed the Afor Umuaka market around 8:30 pm and attacked the victims.
He said four of the victims who were within the age bracket of 30 t0 45 years had lived in the area for many years.
While suspecting that the people who carried out the attack are strangers, he said there has never been an issue between the deceased and the people of Umuaka Community.
According to the Imo State Coordinator of Hausa traders, Mallam Ibrahim Abdulkadir, the first incident happened on Friday when three Suya sellers were about to close for the day.
He said some gunmen in a Sienna car emerged suddenly and sprayed them with bullets.
He said in a similar style, the same set of gunmen attacked four Hausa traders at Umuaka in Njaba. Abdulkadir said Hausa traders in Orlu now live in fear, adding that some of them have relocated to Owerri, the state capital.
“Actually this thing started on the second of this month. I was called that three people had been killed by some men operating in a Siena car. They were Suya sellers.
“Just as we were about to handle the situation, I was called again that four people were killed by the same people,” he said.
Our correspondent learnt that the corpses of the victims have been taken to Owerri in preparation for burial.
Speaking to BBC Hausa Service on Sunday, a businessman living in Orlu, Alhaji Amadu Ali, said from August last year to date, IPOB members had killed 12 Hausa people aside from the loss of over N42 millions of wealth destroyed by the IPOB.
“We just woke up on Wednesday and found out that one Hausa man who sells meat was shot dead while walking on the street by members of the IPOB,” he said.
He revealed that the incident did not affect only the meat seller, but another Hausa man was also killed on the same day, adding that it was surprising because they were not fighting with anybody.
“They have been killing our people one after the other since after the EndSARS protest. We never had any grudges with anybody and we didn’t touch anybody but our people are being killed on a daily basis,” he lamented.
He added that even though the IPOB is not attacking them in their houses but they have been launching attacks on their business places thereby killing people and destroying their wealth.
He complained that the security agencies are aware of what is happening because “The police gave us their vehicle to carry all the three corpse for burial and the commissioner of police has to intervene for them to give us the corpses.