COMMUNUAL violence that recently engulfed Imo State has continued to rage unabated as the state commissioner for entrepreneurship and skills acquisition Iyke Ume has been shot by armed robbers in the capital Owerri.
Over recent weeks, there has been a total breakdown of law and order in Imo State with police stations being attacked and 1,800 prisoners released from Owerri Prison among other things. Over the weekend, Governor Hope Uzodinma’s house was also set ablaze and there have been ongoing gun battles between the security forces and members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
Things escalated earlier this month when Governor Uzodinma invited the military into the state to attack members of the ESN, the armed wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob). Last weekend, tension heightened further when security officials killed an ESN commandant known as Ikonso Commander, in Awomama Village in Oru East Local Government Area.
Now, armed robbery has been added to the explosive situation after gunmen shot no fewer than four motorists in a Sunday attack at Orji, on the Owerri-Okigwe Road very close to the Orji Divisional Police Headquarters. One of the motorists who was shot was driving an unmarked security vehicle and after attacking him the gunmen attacked other vehicles, including commercial buses.
Mr Ume, who was riding with his special adviser on inter-party affairs, Dominic Uzowuru to his home in Orji, got caught in the cross fire when the armed robbers shot him in the leg and hand. Apparently, he was shot while dropping Mr Uzowuru at his house in Orji after a service of songs with another commissioner.
Mr Uzowuru said: “I was not shot but the commissioner was and my phone and that of the commissioner were snatched. We were coming from a service of song of one of us, Austin Nnawuihe and he was dropping me when the robbers struck. I am fine to the glory of God.”