Unidentified gunmen suspected to be enforcing a two-day ‘phantom’ sit-at-home allegedly declared by yet to be identified dissident group in South-East attacked Ebebe Junction in Abakaliki metropolis, Ebonyi.
The attackers who struck the area at about 6:20 a.m on Friday set a vehicle ablaze while a motorcycle operator escaped death by whiskers.
Mr Anayo Chukwuemeka, a resident of the area who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said that the attackers fired several gunshots that got residents panicking and scampering for safety.
“It happened in a flash. But, when the gunshots died down and we came out, we saw that a vehicle has been burnt beyond recognition.
“The driver of the vehicle who managed to escape told us that the gunmen said they are enforcing the sit-at-home declared in protest of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Ebonyi.
“A motorcycle operator who also escaped the attackers’ gunshots told us that they fired at him but he miraculously dodged the bullets,” Chukwuemeka said.
Also, Mr Simon Onwe, a shop owner in the area told NAN that the attackers came in a vehicle without a number plate shot sporadically in the air and immediately fled.
“I was still inside my shop because I slept there; I heard the gunshots but I discovered later that they left a vehicle burnt beyond recognition while a motorcycle operator told us that he narrowly escaped their bullets.
“It’s so unfortunate that we witnessed such an ugly incident in this area that is usually very peaceful and sprawling with business activities especially at evening periods,” he said.
Meanwhile, a combined team of men of the Nigeria Police and the Ebubeagu Eastern Security Outfit, Ebonyi Command have cordoned off the area.
Mrs Loveth Odah, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ebonyi command when contacted for reaction said that she was yet to get a report of the incident.
“I’m just getting the information from you; I’m not aware of the attack,” Odah said.
Meanwhile, an officer of the command at the scene of the incident told NAN on condition of anonymity that the police have organised a manhunt to apprehend the armed criminals.
However, the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), a separatist group agitating for the independent state of Biafra had in a statement signed by Emma Powerful, its media and publicity coordinator said that the group has not declared any sit-at-home in South-East.
Buhari arrived Ebonyi on Thursday on a two-day state visit.
The President is expected to interface with leaders and stakeholders of the zone.