Unknown gunmen, on Wednesday, invaded Afor Awo Market in the Awo Omamma Community of Oru East Local Government Area, Imo State.
At least, two persons were killed in the incident, while six others sustained varying degrees of gunshot wounds. Several others sustained injuries from the stampede as the gunmen shot sporadically while chasing a man believed to be their gang member.
The incident forced traders and those in the neighborhood to scamper for safety, leaving their wares behind.
Panic-stricken traders and residents of the adjourning villages hurriedly closed their shops.
Newsmen gathered that a five- year- old boy was found dead after the attack while a man who owned a motorcycle spare parts in the market, Emeka, died, late Wednesday night, in a hospital where he was taken after receiving gunshots.
According to sources, the gunmen numbering three, had gone on a kidnap operation early this year but one of them (Orjiwuagu from Umuifa, Ubachima Awo Omamma), ran away with the ransom paid by their victim.
He was said to have used part of the money to buy a Lexus car, commenced building his house and living large within the village.
His gang members traced him to the village but he drove towards Afor Awo market. He was said to have stopped at the market as his gang members gave him a chase.
One of the sources said, “Based on what I witnessed, the guy being pursued and his gang went for kidnap or robbery operation. So the operation went fine, the guy out of greed, took the money paid to them as ransom and ran away.
“Today (Wednesday), they saw him and started chasing him all the way from Ubachima Village. He came out at the Afor market and wanted to drive to the junction, unfortunately, they double-crossed him and started shooting.
“He ran into the market that is when the bullets started missing direction and hitting people.
“The most painful death that I have ever seen so far was that of that little boy of five years. He was the only son of his father.”
When contacted, Spokesman of Imo Police Command, Orlando Ikeokwu, said he had no detailed information on the incident.