Home crime IPOB: Panic in Anambra over shooting, Ebonyi police arrest 15

IPOB: Panic in Anambra over shooting, Ebonyi police arrest 15

by Admin

Ikenna Obianeri and Raphael Ede

Shootings by gunmen suspected to be enforcing the one week sit-at-home order declared by the Simon Ekpa-led faction of the Indigenous People of Biafra threw residents of the commercial cities of Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka in Anambra State into panic and confusion on Friday.

As a result of the development, traders in major markets in the cities closed their shops and scampered to safety for fear of being attacked by the hoodlums.

It was gathered that school authorities allowed parents to hurriedly take their children home pending further developments.

A trader at the Onitsha Main Market who craved anonymity said they were warned not to go to the market on Friday and were advised to stay home, adding, “Nobody knows the reason and the direction it is coming from.”

The trader added, “Some of us who came to the market this morning hung around and were monitoring the development, while some traders opened their shops partially. But pandemonium started when we heard gunshots being fired near the bridgehead. Immediately, traders and customers in the market started running.”

Also, a spare parts dealer in Nnewi spare parts market, identified simply as Tochukwu, said, “There was news that gunmen were coming to attack Nnewi for refusing to obey the sit-at-home order. The traders ran away from their shops without knowing the reason but after some time, they decided to return to the shops.”

Similarly, at Igbariam in Anambra East Local Government Area, near the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University campus, shootings were also heard which led to the suspension of activities at the university campus, as many ran into the school premises for safety.

It was also learnt that two persons were allegedly shot at a petrol station in the border town of Ihiala Local Government Area and another attack by the hoodlums at the neighbouring Okija community. Meanwhile, our correspondent could not immediately ascertain if the two persons shot in Ihiala LGA survived the gunshot.

Reacting to the development, the police spokesperson in the state, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, said the development was the handiwork of mischief-makers sharing false security alerts.

He stated, “The Anambra State Police Command today (Friday) observed with great dismay the mischievous act of persons sharing false security alerts and messages, and doctored old videos of security incidents to cause tension and panic in the state.

“Given the above, the command shall invoke relevant cyber laws on persons found wanting in this regard. Meanwhile, the command has noted that the confidence reposed in us by Ndi Anambra in the protection of lives and properties shall not be taken for granted.”

He added that the police and other security forces had intensified patrols and improved security surveillance in the state. He advised members of the public to contact the command’s control room via 07039194332 or the state police public relations officer on 08039334002 if situations demand.

Similarly, the state Commissioner for Homeland Matters, Chikaodi Anara, said the reports were mere rumours to cause panic in the state.

He however added, “As I speak to you, our men in conjunction with the police, army and other security operatives have taken over everywhere and the situation is under control. At Igbariam in Anambra East Local Government Area, we have engaged some hoodlums who have been causing trouble in the area and some arrests have been made but we don’t want to disclose further. Our people should discountenance those reports.”

Ebonyi suspects arrested

In a related development, the police in Ebonyi State on Friday announced the arrest of 15 persons suspected to be involved in the shooting by suspected IPOB members on Tuesday at the new market and Ishieke areas of the state.

The suspects forced the residents to comply with the one-week sit-at-home order from July 3 to 10.

The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Faleye Olayele, told journalists in Abakaliki, the state capital, that among the 15 suspects arrested from their hideouts were two herbalists, Okwudili Otozi and Nnenna Ali.

Olayele said, “They have attacked our area commander and burnt our vehicle. They have been terrorising the state. On July 4, they came to Ishieke firing aimlessly. I want to tell you that 15 of them have been apprehended, together with their herbalists. We recovered arms and charms of different kinds.

Olayele said the suspects were preparing for another attack on Friday when they were arrested by the police. Meanwhile, one of the herbalists told newsmen that he was forced to join the gang.

Enugu enforcers dislodged

In Enugu State, the police command in a statement on Friday by its spokesperson, Daniel Ndukwe, said it had dislodged and inflicted fatal gunshot wounds on hoodlums trying to enforce the sit-at-home order.

The police said operatives serving in Awkunanaw Division intercepted armed criminals who were attempting to snatch a branded minivan from its driver at One-Day, along Agbani Road, Enugu.

Ndukwe stated that the officers engaged the miscreants in a gun duel, forcing them to abandon the vehicle, where arms, ammunition and other items were recovered. The hoodlums however escaped with varying degrees of gunshot wounds.

Ndukwe said a manhunt for the fleeing hoodlums was ongoing, while calling on owners of medical facilities and those residing within the Awkunanaw, One-Day, Topland and Achara Layout areas, to promptly report to the police anyone sighted with gunshot wounds.

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