A royal father and three other persons, including a married couple, were killed during an attack by yet to be identified gunmen in Nkerefi, a town in the Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State, in the early hours of Saturday.
It was gathered that the traditional ruler of Isienu Amofu, a community in Nkerefi, Igwe Peter Onuoha, who was killed in the incident, was the prime target of the attack.
But a native of the community, one Daniel Ogbu, alias Choco, also died in the attack, alongside a married couple, identified as Ejike Uzor and his wife, Evelyn Uzor.
Eyewitnesses disclosed that the victims had several machete cuts on their bodies, as well as bullet wounds.
Some other natives of the community were also injured during the attack.
Our correspondent gathered that the gunmen stormed the Igwe’s palace under the cover of darkness.
It was learnt that they continued shooting in all directions all through the operation.
It was equally gathered that most of those who sustained injuries were hit by stray bullets.
A native of the community, who refused to disclose his name, said residents of the community, particularly those living close to the Igwe’s palace, fled their homes as the noise of the sporadic gunshots rent the air.
He noted that those who sustained bullet wounds were hit by stray bullets when they fled the comfort of their homes during the attack.
The source added that the couple, who were killed in the attack, may equally be victims of stray bullets, although he admitted that it was strange that they were also inflicted with machete cuts.
However, he disclosed that, by the time the shooting stopped, the dead body of the traditional ruler was discovered in the palace.
The bodies of Choco, and the married couple, were equally discovered in different locations as the villagers took stock of what had happened.
Members of the community, as well as the police, who said it has commenced investigations, are yet to ascertain the reason behind the bloody attack in the village.
But there are reports that the assassinated royal father and some youths in the community recently had a bitter quarrel, which was not resolved.
According to the source, last year, the youths took on the Igwe after he made a spiritual sacrifice in the community.
The youths were reportedly suspicious of the sacrifice, which they believed was carried out by the Igwe in order to ‘tie’ or stop the progress of members of the community.
However, the Igwe had insisted that the sacrifice was meant for the protection of members of his family.
According to the source, “The Igwe (royal father) and youths in the village had problems last year when the youths accused him of retarding the progress of the community through fetish practices but the Igwe told them that the sacrifice he did was purely for his protection and that of his family members.
“As a result of the development, the youths forcefully uprooted the royal father’s sign-board to express their anger but the community leaders condemned the act and threatened to fish out and discipline the concerned youths.
“Some of the youths involved in the protest fled the community since then but I don’t know if those youths have a hand in this incident.”
Meanwhile, the police has vowed to arrest those behind the attack.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Enugu State Police Command, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, described the killings as “unfortunate.”
He said the police has commenced investigations and will not rest until the perpetrators are apprehended.
“The command is working relentlessly to ensure that those behind the alleged murder are unmasked and brought to book.
“Full scale investigations have commenced into the incident,” Amaraizu said.
The bodies of the royal father and the other victims have been deposited at the morgue of Eastern Nigeria Medical Center, Enugu, and General Hospital, Agbani, respectively.
Amaraizu revealed that the police have increased security surveillance in the area in order to forestall further breakdown of law and order.