The shocking revelation was made on Tuesday by the Commander, 2 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Brig. Gen. Hamisu Hassan.
According to him, investigation is ongoing to determine what Izu was doing at the shrine.
Recall that Joseph, a regular with Shooting Stars Sports Club in the just –ended Nigeria Professional Football League season, and who helped the Oluyole Warriors retain Premiership status, was shot dead in his hometown, Okaki in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State on Sunday.
Reports had it that Joseph had pleaded with JTF operatives that he was a footballer before he was shot.
The Commander described as shocking, the death of the footballer.
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.
In a statement reported by Daily Post, Hassan said the Brigade would sustain the current tempo of the operations against cultists, kidnappers and other criminals to make Rivers State safe.
“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 ongoing to determine what he was doing at the cultist’s shrine at that time.”