Gunmen launch fresh attacks on Imo, Abia, Anambra

From Okey Sampson (Umuahia) and Stanley Uzoaru (Owerri)

Gunmen yesterday went on rampage in Umuahia, Abia State and Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, burning police stations and courts.  This came on the heels of an attack on a military checkpoint at the Ihiala axis of Onitsha–Owerri Expressway in Anambra State on Friday night, where five soldiers were feared killed.

In Abia, the attack by unknown gunmen on police formations took a dangerous dimension yesterday as the hoodlums attacked the Abia Police Command Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) in Umuagu, Umuahia.

It was gathered that the gunmen in their numbers stormed the complex in the afternoon and went straight to the area housing the cell.

The gunmen were said to have shot sporadically to scare away the few policemen on duty, released criminal detainees inside the cell before razing down the whole place.

There were said to be a re-enforcement of policemen, but before they arrived, much harm had been done.

The police were reported to have, however, engaged the gunmen in fierce gun duel with gunshots still being heard within the vicinity by the time of filing this report.

It could not be ascertained immediately if there were casualties or if arms were carted away by the hoodlums as the command’s PPRO, Geoffrey Ogbonna failed to pick calls made on his phone.

However, an unconfirmed report said that a commercial tricycle operator who was hit by a stray bullet died instantly.

The attack came just 24 hours after the Abia State Security Summit ended its three-day sitting and came out with a communique condemning the incessant attacks on police formations and urged Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to do something immediately to checkmate the ugly trend.

In Imo, the gunmen razed the Atta Divisional Police headquarters under construction in the Njaba Local Government Area.

Sunday Sun learnt that the hoodlums at about 1:00 a.m also proceeded to the Atta Magistrate and High Court and burnt them down, as well as vandalising the community’s health centre.

A source from the community disclosed that the invaders shot sporadically for about an hour before torching the government-owned facilities.

Also, in the state, the majority of the residents stayed indoors even when it is two days to the sit-at-home order given by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for the people of the Southeast to stay in their homes on May 31.

Most of the markets in the state were scanty and the major roads deserted.

Our correspondent who went round some usually busy places in Owerri observed that there were partial opening of business premises while few commercial vehicles were seen plying the roads.

Although as at the time of filing this report it was alleged that some people were wounded at the troubled area.

The Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, also confirmed the attack in a statement.

In Anambra, five soldiers were feared dead following an attack on a military checkpoint at the Ihiala axis of Onitsha – Owerri Expressway of the state.

The incident, it was gathered, happened at about 8:40p.m on Friday.

According to sources, the gunmen stormed the area and opened fire on the soldiers who were on a roadblock.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Anambra State, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, confirmed that there was an attack on soldiers, but said that he does not have other details about the ugly incident.

He, however, confirmed that the gunmen set the operational vehicle of the soldiers on fire using a patrol bomb while trying to flee as a combined team of the police and other security agencies raced to the scene to provide support to the embattled soldiers.

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