The Nigerian Army has said that Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan defender, Joseph Izu, who was killed on Sunday, October 16, reportedly by a stray bullet from a member of the Joint Task Force (JTF), was killed in a cultist’s shrine, Channels TV reports.
This was disclosed on Tuesday, October 18, by the Commander, 2 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Brig. Gen. Hamisu Hassan.
According to him, investigation is on-going to determine what Izu was doing at the shrine.
However, the commander described his death as shocking.
He said: “While it remains a questionable mystery how the deceased was found in an isolated area very close to a shrine, the command will stop at nothing to uncover the ills behind his demise.
“Izu was killed when troops, who were on a confidence building patrol, moved into cultists’ hideout in Okaki village.
“Information available to the patrolling troops indicated the presence of suspected cultists in Okaki village.
“The troops moved in and raided the suspected criminal hideout. One person lost his life at the hideout while several others fled.
“Later, it was confirmed that the person who lost his life was a Nigerian footballer, identified as Mr. Izu Joseph.
“Nevertheless, investigation is on-going to determine what he was doing at the cultist’s shrine at that time.”
Hassan added that the military would sustain the current tempo of the operations against cultists, kidnappers and other criminals to make Rivers state safe.
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However, reports in some quarters had it that Izu had pleaded with JTF operatives that he was a footballer before he was shot.