Gulak’s Killers Arrested, Police Says, as Tension Engulfs Imo, South East
The killing of the aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak, in Imo State on Sunday has thrown the state and the entire southeastern part of Nigeria into a state of tension.
Gulak was intercepted and shot dead on his way to Sam Mbakwe Airport in Imo State.
The southeastern states were already compelled by the pro-Biafra agitators, proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to observe a sit-at-home order to mark what they called the 2021 Biafra Remembrance Day in honour of millions of people who died in the war between 1967 and 1970.
IPOB conducted a candlelit march on Sunday evening and a strict order for people to remain indoors on Monday for their own safety.
People complied by deserting the streets of Owerri, the Imo State capital on Sunday but the killing of Gulak broke the peace.
Gulak was not new to Imo State because he served as the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) committee that conducted the governorship primaries in the state in 2019, and has visited the state on several occasions after Hope Uzodinma became governor.
His last trip was to attend the public hearing of the constitution review committee held in the city of Owerri, and after his assignment, he stayed back while other members of the committee departed the city on Friday.
A source close to Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, who chaired the public hearing in Owerri said the deceased was offered to fly on Kalu’s private jet but he declined.
A statement issued by the police spokesperson in the state, Bala Elkana, said only Gulak was killed by the gunmen in a vehicle he was riding to the airport. Elkana said Gulak left his hotel room in Owerri on Sunday morning to catch a flight at Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, without informing the police despite the security situation in the state.
The statement disclosed that “On May 30, around 7:20 a.m. armed bandits intercepted and attacked a Toyota Camry cab carrying Ahmed Gulak and two others who were on their way to Sam Mbakwe Airport.
“Ahmed Gulak left his room at Protea Hotel without informing the police nor sister agencies in view of the fragile security situation in the Southeast and Imo in particular. He left without any security escorts and while the cab driver took the irregular route to the airport, six-armed bandits, who rode in a Toyota Sienna intercepted, identified and shot at Gulak around Umueze Obiangwu in Ngor-Okpala Local Government Area, close to the airport,” the statement read.
IPOB has said it was not responsible for the death of Gulak, stressing that his death was a “professional assassination”.
Denying involvement in the attack, IPOB spokesman, Emma Powerful, said: “This is political assassination; we are not in the same party with Gulak. Uzodimma and APC know about Gulak’s death; we do not know anything about his movement, talk more of him being in the state.”
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has alleged the Igbo people are preparing the ground for another civil war with Gulak’s assassination. CNG in a statement by its spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said the coordinated attacks on police formations in the region is part of a wider plan by the Igbo to replicate the ugly events of 1966.
Meanwhile, the Imo State Police Command later Sunday night said they had tracked down suspected killers of Gulak and killed at least six of them after a fierce encounter.
Another statement Elkana, said “On 30th May, 2021 following a distress received by the Command on the gruesome murder of Ahmed Gulak, Police Special Forces made up of Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Police Mobile Force (PMF) and Tactical Units from the command were deployed to the scene at Obiangwu Junction at Ngorokpala LGA of Imo state.
“Eyewitnesses account, especially the account given by the Driver of the vehicle that was conveying Ahmed Gulak to the Airport before the attack, gave a vivid description of the assailants and the vehicles they used in carrying out the attack.
“The assailants were said to have used a Toyota Camry 2005 model with silver color; Toyota Sienna 1998 Model with golden color; Toyota Hilux with white color; and a Lexus RX 330 with golden Color. (Registration numbers are withheld for security reasons).
“Having established the identity of the assailants and the description of the vehicles used in carrying out the attack, the teams further got details of the direction the hoodlums have taken. With further leads, the team was able to establish the location of suspects.
“The suspects were rounded up at Afor Enyiogugu junction in Aboh-Mbaise Local Government Area. The hoodlums where met distributing onions to locals from a trailer they confiscated. The trailer was loaded with Onions from the Northern region of Nigeria.
“On sighting the Police, the hoodlums providing security coverage to those sharing the onions opened fire on the Police teams.
“The Gallant and battle ready Police Officers swiftly returned the fire. The six hoodlums who carried out the killings and four other members of their gang were fatally injured. Three out of the four vehicles used in attacking Gulak were recovered.
“Three AK 47 Rifles, one Pistol, five AK 47 magazines with ninety two rounds of live ammunition and criminal charms were recovered. The assailants were identified as members of the proscribed IPOB and ESN.
“The driver who drove late Ahmed Gulak and a co- victim who survived have all identified the dead body of the IPOB/ESN members positively as their attackers and also identified the three vehicles recovered as those used by the attackers.
“During the encounter, two of the police armored personnel carriers (APC) were riddled with bullets but survived the gun battle.”
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