Commercial banks and shops in the Ihiala main town of Anambra state hurriedly closed and ran out for safety at 12 noon today as unknown gunmen attacked team of Nigeria soldiers.
The team of soldiers with heavy military equipment, it was gathered had mounted partial road block forcing motorists to ply one way early hours of the day around St Martin’s Church, Odoata school and another group before Azia junction in Ihiala to secure the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA campaign ceremony of the former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Professor Charles Soludo slated to hold at the school field.
The unknown gunmen as it was gathered, engaged the soldiers face to face with over two hours of gun battle along the Onitsha-Owerri road.
Anambra state Governor, Willie Obiano and the APGA gubernatorial candidate, Professor Charles Soludo were yet to arrive the venue when the attack started around 10 this morning.
Residents said the unknown gunmen shot two soldiers and fled the scene around 12 noon, abandoning their vehicles.
Passengers inside a car plying the road were also killed according to an eyewitness who said the driver of the commercial bus he was in, came face to face with the unknown gunmen but the driver managed to revise quickly and escape. Adding, passengers inside the car in their front were not lucky.
Residents said some of the unknown gunmen on motorcycles returned through the Ihiala-Orlu road they came in while some others snatched vehicles to escape.
Officials of Anambra state government said the unknown gunmen escaped taking advantage of Our Lady of Lourdes hospital. Adding, the combined team of soldiers and other security operatives could not do much to gun them down because of patients and other persons in the hospital.
As at the time of filling in this report, canopies and vehicle that conveyed chairs and other materials to Odoata school field, the venue of the expected APGA campaign were still visible and in preparation stage when the unknown gunmen attacked the team of soldiers.
It would be recalled the unknown gunmen overpowered two group of special anti terrorism team of the Nigeria Police Force last week Thursday at Ihembosi, close to Ihiala community.
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