Following the recent killings of four Northerners in Orlu and three others in Amaka towns of Imo State, northern communities in the areas are living in fear of imminent attacks by proscribed separatist group of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
Our reporter gathered that IPOB’s fighters are raiding suburbs and crannies of Owerri, the state capital, targeting suya vendors.
The development has forced some Northerners to flee the place in recent time.
In the latest incident, two suya sellers were reported killed at Atta in Ikeduru Local Government Area of the state.
Our correspondent gathered that the incident happened at about 9 pm on Thursday when three men on a motorbike went to the Suya traders and bought some Suya from them.
However the men after relishing the meat refused to pay. An argument was said to have ensued, but the men instead of paying collected all the day’s sales from the traders and shot them. The victims died instantly.
Confirming the incident, a leader of the Hausa community in Owerri, Alhaji Sani Ahmed Mai Rago, said that his attention was called to the incident and they went and took the corpses and buried them on Friday.
Mai Rago, who is the chairman of produce sellers at Avu Junction, described the incident as unfortunate.
Also speaking on the incident, the leader of the Hausa community in Ama Awusa, Alhaji Auwal Baba Suleiman, sued for peace, adding the rampant killing of innocent traders only add to the already tensed situation in the state.
On his part, Dr. Lawan Yusuf, a Northerner living in Owerri expressed concerns over the spate of killings by people suspected to be IPOB members, adding that the situation has forced some northerners in the state to leave.
“Wherever they (IPOB) meet a northerner, they would ask if they have visa for entering Biafra. Once you said no, they’d pounce on you with cuttings and if one’s not lucky, he’d just breath his last”, he said.
Talking about protecting the northerners in the state, he said: “With the exception of Hausa area known as Ama-Hausa, there’s been no other area where security personnel were deployed to protect us. The IPOB militants are scared of that area. Honestly, we’re living in fear.”
At least 11 northerners have so far been killed in the state in less than two weeks.
Police Spokesman, Orlando Ikeokwu, when contacted said he will get back to our correspondent, but as at the time of filing this report, he was yet to do so.
Meanwhile, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Hope Uzodimma on Gender and Vulnerable Persons (Men), Sulaiman Ibrahim Sulaiman said members of the Hausa community in the state were leaving in droves due to the recent killings.
He said that on the contrary, the Hausa community has resolved to pursue peace and live in harmony with their host.
Speaking to our correspondent in an interview in Owerri yesterday, Suleiman described the Orlu incident as isolated and not reflective of the security situation in the entire state.
From Jude Aguguo Owuamanam (Owerri), Musa Kutama (Calabar) & Dalhatu Liman (Abuja)