Palpable fear has gripped residents of Onitsha and environs in Anambra state following heavy shootings by alleged gunmen during which two naval personnel were reportedly gunned down at the naval checkpoint along the very-busy Onitsha/Owerri road on Tuesday.
There were two conflicting reports to the incident which occurred at about 6.30am.
An eye witness, who pleaded anonymity said the unknown gunmen stormed the Naval checkpoint in an SUV vehicle.
“When the military men saw them advancing towards them, they opened fire at them. They were forced to flee when they discovered that the bullets they released on the gunmen were not penetrating their bodies.
“Two of them were however gunned down while they were running.
Another account, by a stockfish seller adjacent to the scene of the incident who simply identified himself as Peter, said, “some gunmen just drove their SUV car straight to the Naval checkpoint and killed two of them instantly while others escaped.
“They shot heavily into the air before attacking the military men who also responded fire for fire.”
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up at the Owerri/Onitsha road naval checkpoint since the alleged incident, including the naval checkpoints at Uga and Odekpe, prompting residents to live in fear.
Street traders have, perforce, shut their shops sequel to the shooting that has been continued by the military, ostensibly, a show-of-force to register its presence as fear has gripped the residents.
Confirming the incident, Police spokesperson, Tochukwu Ikenga, said investigations had commenced, adding that efforts were ong to apprehend the pepetrators.
He however declined comment on whether there was any casualty during the attack.
He said, “The command sent a response team to the scene at about 6:30p.m when it received a distress call that there was sporadic shooting in the area. The team went there to repel the attack.
“Investigation is still ongoing but preliminary investigation revealed that the hoodlums arrived the checkpoint in an unmarked tinted vehicle.
He also denied social media reports that there was another attack at the Bridgehead, Onitsha, on Wednesday, assuring the public of the command’s resolve to flush out criminals from the state.