In Orji, Owerri, in Imo State, towards Okigwe Road, the residents live in fear from both ‘Unknown Gunmen’ and Nigerian security forces.
On June 7, at IMSU junction, gunmen had appeared, and everyone scampered for safety. The gunmen had killed two truck drivers who were from the northern part of the country, and a woman at the flyover at Orji on June 4.
Days after that, residents woke up to sporadic gunshots at Amako between the Police and the gunmen. A resident who spoke to FIJ on the condition of anonymity said the Police killed close to five of the gunmen and arrested one of them, who said he is from Owerri.
The result of the shootout was empty streets.
“As I am talking to you now, in Orji, everywhere, is dry now. Before you see people outside, it’s very difficult. Everybody is watching themselves mostly because of the Army,” said the resident.
“Today after after the shootings, soldiers and the Police came to Nkpor Orji and started packing innocent souls. Anybody they see, they catch them, put them in a van and go.”
The resident said the people no longer knew whom to be afraid of between the gunmen and the security forces who raided their homes, as the Police would take young men into custody and leave the women alone.
“Once you are a youth and you are a male, they will catch you,” he said. The police and army have been doing this since May. A barber who lives where the resident stays was taken by the police and has not been seen for almost two weeks.”
One of the ways residents in Imo State keep safe is by returning home before nightfall. But even this is not an assurance of safety, or that one won’t be picked up by security forces.
“People are not moving down to their normal activities, just like when you are doing something with fear, you have to move immediately for you not to be a victim of anything. The economic activity is very bad for now.”
Be the first to receive special investigative reports and features in your inbox.