…police say investigation ongoing

At least six persons, including three gallant members of the Edo State Security Network (ESSN), were killed by gunmen who invaded Okhunmwun Community in Ovia North-East local Government Area of Edo State on Thursday.

The gun-wielding assailants also shot and wounded several others, including a septuagenarian retired military officer, Mr. Peter Omorogbe, and Head of Tactical Team of ESSN, Mr. Osarenren A.K.A. General Small Baba, who are now hospitalized.

Police gave the identities of the casualties as Endurance Ehioretin, Victor Uwaifo, and D. D. (ESSN operatives), Osas Orobor indigene of the community, Sada Haruna and Wada Hilia, commercial motorcycle operators.

A source in the community also said some persons have been missing since the bloody attack.

Sources revealed that the gunmen in their numbers sneaked into the community with loaded guns and laid ambush at Okhunmwun Road by Uhogua Junction inside Okhunmwun Community, where they killed five of their victims.

The source revealed further that the ESSN Head of Tactical Team, General Small Baba, who resides in the community, was passing by, accompanied by some of his operatives in a Toyota Sienna when the gunmen opened fire on them. He was said to have escaped with bullet wounds while three of his men lost their lives in the ambush.

It was also gathered that the rampaging armed men thereafter went to the residence of one Osas Orobor, a recently trained ESSN member, and shot him to death.

The sporadic shooting forced residents of the area to flee for safety at about 8pm on Thursday, September 21.

When our correspondent visited Okhunmwun Community, blood stains and expended cartridges littered Uhogua Junction along Okhunmwun Road and many houses around the vicinity were deserted.

The acting Village Head (Odionwere) of Okhunmwun Community, Pa Monday Oviahon, was said to have been unavailable.

However, the former Vice Chairman of Okhunmwun Community, Mr. Aigbedion Ifa, said the attack was shocking.

Aigbedion said he had already left the locality for Benin City when the Okaighele, one Mr. Louis Ulamen, informed him of the attack and he quickly notified teams of soldiers who accompanied him with others to the scene of crime.

Scene of the attack at Uhogua Junction in Okhunmwun Community.

“When we got to Uhogua Junction on Okhunmwun Road, we saw Small Baba’s vehicle. The soldiers asked us to go back, so we started calling Small Baba to come out, that we were by his vehicle. He came out, then we rushed them to UBTH. Five were dead and were deposited in the mortuary. I later learnt that my own blood brother, Osas Orobor, was also killed,” Aigbedion narrated.

When contacted, the youth leader (Okaighele) of Okhunmwun Community, Mr. Louis Ulamen, said he would speak on the aggression unleashed on his community on a latter day.

Confirming the killings, the Public Relations Officer of Edo State Police Command, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, said one Charles Aghedo, a prison escapee, reportedly led others to attack Okhunmwun Community over leadership tussle.

“The Okaighele of Okhunmwun Community, one Louis Ulamen, reported the incident at Ekiadolor Police Division along Benin-Lagos Expressway.

“He identified some persons who have been troubling the community and have vowed to take over the leadership and control of the community by force,” the police spokesman said.

SP Nwabuzor further said that on the receipt of the information, police in Ekiadolor moved into the community where six fatalities were evacuated.

He revealed that one single-barrel gun, one live ammunition, 62 expended cartridges, one Toyota Sienna with registration number BEN 973 TY, and a mini-bus marked RRU 431 ZE were recovered.

He said the police had made good progress as investigation continued.