Students of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU) in Anambra, living off the Igbariam campus, have fled their off-campus lodges over the fear of a reprisal attack.

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NAN reports that this followed the murder of nine persons, including minors, in Ukpomachi village, Awkuzu, Oyi LGA, by unknown assailants in the early hours of Monday.

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,” the student said.

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“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.”

Grace Ifediora, another student, 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.

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In his reaction, Christian Chukwueloka, the institution’s public relations officer, 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,” he said.

“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.”

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Tochukwu Ikenga, the state police command’s spokesman, had earlier confirmed the tragic incident, adding that adequate security had been put in place to forestall further occurrence.

Ikenga said Monday Kuryas, the state commissioner of police, has ordered a discreet investigation into the matter.

The spokesman said the assailants, who were 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.

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