Several houses, shops and vehicles were on Monday set ablaze in Awomamma in Oru East Local Government Area of Imo State even as residents abandoned their homes and fled into bushes during a clash between soldiers and unknown gunmen in the state.
People wept and watched as their property went up inflame.
Our correspondent gathered that trouble started when some unknown gunmen attacked and killed one soldier in the town.
A source said the soldiers who were pained by death of one of them reinforced and unleashed their anger on the gunmen.
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The source said; “There was a clash between unknown gunmen and security agents in Awomamma. The gunshots from different directions ignited fire from one of the inflammable substances parked in the shops and vehicles in the area. The fire spread from one house to the other and burnt even commercial buses, filling stations. People shops were destroyed by fire.”
It was further gathered the affected persons have been rendered homeless as their personal belongings have all been burnt to ashes.
Mostly affected are the businessmen and women that watched helplessly as their wares were destroyed by fire.
Residents of the affected communities fled into the surrounding bushes for safety. They were said to be afraid of any form of attack from gunmen. They were seen carrying their belongings and dragging their children along with them.
Our source added, “We are running away with our children with a few of our property. We don’t want to be killed. We want to be safe. Let us go where nobody will kill us.”
Recall that Izombe, a Community in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State has claimed losing property worth N1billion during the October 8 invasion of the community by soldiers.
A cross-section of indigenes of the community who spoke to correspondents said the soldiers, who were on a reprisal, burnt no fewer than 80 houses, many cars and economic trees.
Soldiers attached to the 34 Artillery Brigade, Obinze, Owerri, had clashed with youths of the community resulting in the death of one Obere and two soldiers.
The soldiers who were said to have stormed the community to resolve issues between two warring youth groups launched a reprisal attack on the community after losing two of their colleagues and rifles including their patrol van.