There is palpable fear in Imo State on Tuesday as gunmen engaged police in a gun duel as they attempted to burn Orji Divisional Police Headquarters situated on Owerri-Okigwe Road in Owerri under reconstruction.
Security operatives made up of soldiers, policemen and air Force engaged the hoodlums in shootout which resulted to casualties on the side of the hoodlums
The situation caused panic in the area that forced two banks in the area to hurriedly close.
Customers and passersby took to their heels as vehicles diverted while motorists scampered for safety after running out of their vehicles. The situation caused serious gridlock around the city
Eyewitnesses told our correspondent that the gunmen, numbering over 20 attacked the police station after blocking the expressway with their vehicles.
Reacting, the police spokesman, SP Bala Elkanah said the police were able to repel the hoodlums before they could destroy the police station.
Some hoodlums in their number launched an offensive on the reconstruction site of Orji Divisional Headquarters which was earlier burnt by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protest in 2020. A philanthropist contracted the reconstruction project.
The hoodlums, who believed that the re-establishment of a functional police station may prevent them from carrying out their nefarious acts in Orji and environs, decided to invade the construction site.
Before the arrival of reinforcement team, the hoodlums melted into the neighbouring townships area but abandoned their operational vehicles. The Commissioner of Police, Imo State, CP Abutu Yaro, fdc personally led an enforcement team to the scene.
The whole area was cordoned and five suspects, namely Chigaemezu Sabastine ‘m’ 26 years old, Casmir Ibe ‘m’ 36years old, John Chinonso ‘m’ 24years old, Chukwudi Okoro ‘m’ 28years and Alozie Daberechi ‘m’ 25years old were arrested. No life was lost. Three vehicles were recovered.
He said, mop up operation is ongoing to arrest more suspects and recover their firearms.