Operatives of South-East outfit, Ebubeagu, in Amasiri, in the Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, have shot dead no fewer than five youths while many others sustained injuries.
Some of the injured persons were alleged to have been taken to the state capital, Abakaliki by security operatives from a hospital in Afikpo, where they are said to be receiving treatment, Vanguard reports.
Witnesses said the Ebubeagu operatives arrived in five Toyota Sienna vehicles in Amaebor, Ohaechara village square in Amasiri, and opened fire on the youth over the alleged sealing of a Lebanese-owned quarry company, Conrock.
One of the survivors, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained the operatives arrived after the youths gathered to share a monetary gift from the management of Conrock for unsealing the company.
The source added that the youths were also deliberating on how to honour invitations hitherto sent to them by the Afikpo Divisional Police Command and the Area Command.
“We were expected to appear before the Area Command and the division on Monday (yesterday) and Tuesday (today) before Ebubeagu people came and started shooting at us for engaging them in an argument.
“We told them we had reached an agreement with the company and that we had unsealed the company.
“Their management even gave something in appreciation for our peaceful conduct. So we are at a loss as to why Ebubeagu people came to shoot some of us.
“One of those shot died on the way to the hospital while two others died while receiving treatment.”
Another source added that one other youth died Saturday morning from wounds he sustained from gunshots.
He said that “Some of those injured were taken away by security men from the hospital where they were being attended to, to Abakaliki the following day (Sunday).”
The source explained that the youths accused the management of foot-dragging on the rehabilitation of a four-kilometre road in Amaebor and the naming of their Community Liaison Officer, CLO which led to the sealing of the company.
“We know that the Ebubeagu operatives were invited by the said political officers because they wanted the CLO to be appointed from another village in Ohaechara instead of Amaebor that the post is zoned to,” the source added.
Meanwhile, the Consultant to the State Government on Security and Chairman of APC, Chief Stanley Okoro-Emegha, alleged that the death of the youth was caused by the shootout between the local Ebubeagu operatives and the youths of the community.
“Ebubeagu went to the area to know what the problem was. The youths there stopped the quarry from operating. The Council Chairman went there to beg but they refused all her pleadings.
“When Ebubeagu went there, the youths opened fire on them. It was their leader’s bullet that killed one of them. After he killed him, he took him to the mortuary and thereafter he disappeared but he has been arrested by security agencies.”
On her part, the Police Public Relations Officer, Loveth Odah, said she didn’t have details of the incident.
“I spoke to the DPO and he said the matter was reported to Headquarters but I am yet to get the person investigating the matter since it happened weekend,” she said.