Students of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU) in Anambra, living off the Igbariam campus, have fled their off-campus lodges over fear of a reprisal attack.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this followed the murder of nine persons, including minors, in Ukpomachi village, Awkuzu, Oyi Local Government Area, by unknown assailants early Monday morning.
A student, who pleaded anonymity, said the gory sight of some of the victims, who had their heads decapitated by the assailants, instilled fear in students residing off campus.
“As you can see now, many students have fled their hostels because nobody knows what may happen next.
“I am packing my things to leave my lodge too because this incident might result in a reprisal attack and I don’t want to be caught in the middle of it all.
“As for now, I cannot say this is the reason for the murder,” the student said.Another student, Miss Grace Ifediora, who was seen with a traveling bag, said she was heading home and would return when normalcy fully returns to the area.
“My parents heard of the attack and asked that I come back home that is why I am leaving,” she said.
Reacting, the Public Relations Officer of the institution, Dr Christian Chukwueloka, urged students and parents not to entertain any fear as the incident never occurred within the university.
“The incident happened far away from the university community. After the incident, the Vice Chancellor had given out a lot of assurances that security is everywhere to protect students.
“So parents, students and concerned citizens entertaining any fear should not, because no student was killed and the incident happened far away from the community and therefore, nobody should panic.
“As far as the university community is concerned, there is no need for fear. Lecturers are there teaching and security had been beefed up just in case,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer of the Anambra Command, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, while confirming the incident, said the state Commissioner of Police, CP Monday Kuryas, has ordered discreet investigation into the matter.
In a statement, made available to NAN on Monday, Ikenga said adequate security had been put in place to forestall further occurrence.
Ikenga said the assailants, said to be armed with machetes and other dangerous weapons, invaded the village in their numbers and attacked the residents, resulting in the death of nine persons, whose identities are yet-to-be ascertained.
According to him, the victims had visible injuries on their bodies while their buildings and livestock were also destroyed.Ikenga, who restated the command’s resolve to get to the root of the incident, called on residents to remain calm and volunteer useful information that would help the Police in its investigation.