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Weekend of bloodbaths as lawlessness spreads

Ayodele Adesanmi (Ado Ekiti), VAL OKARA (OWERRI), Nosa Akenzua, (Asaba), ISAAC JOB (UYO)

It was a weekend of bloodletting in many communities of the country as gunmen went on the rampage, killing, maiming and kidnapping numerous people.

In Akwa Ibom State, gunmen on Sunday attacked a police station in Ini Local Government Area and shot dead a Mobile police officer.

A source who pleaded not to be mentioned told our correspondent that one of the gang members identified as was arrested while others escaped with bullet wounds.

The source added that the armed men stormed the area with motorcycles and immediately opened fire directly at the police officers who replied, but one of them fell by the bandits bullets.

According to the source, many of the hoodlums abandoned their motorcycles and charms and fled the scene.

“This morning we got information that police station was being attacked in Ini, so we went.

The men came here on motorcycles and started shooting at the police and they (Police) also started shooting, but one of the police officers was gunned down.

The bandits escaped into the bush leaving their motorcycles and charms,” the source said.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Odiko Macdon, confirmed the report.

He said: “We got report of the incident in Ini LGA this morning. We arrested one of the criminals while others escaped with bullets wounds. We recovered three motorcycles and charms.

But unfortunately, one of our men who participated in the operation was hit. He was taken to the hospital at Ikot Ekpene, but unfortunately, he gave up the ghost.

“As we speak, the Commissioner of Police Andrew Amiengheme, has ordered men of the Operation Restore Peace, who are now in the bush for possible arrest of those who escaped with bullets wounds.”

In Kaduna, the State Police Command confirmed the kidnapping of 12 persons in a new residential area of Kofar Gayan/Kofar Kona axis of Zaria.

The incident, according to information, took place between Saturday night and early hours of Sunday, barely three days after the kidnapping of 10 students and lecturers of Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria that left one dead.

Kaduna State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Jalige, in a telephone interview said: “Yes, there was an incident in Zaira and some of the victims were rescued.”

When asked whether the kidnappers have reached out for ransom, Jalige said in most cases, the families of the victims usually choose not to disclose the dealings between them and the bandits.

He however said efforts were on to secure the release of the remaining people.

It was gathered that eight people were kidnapped from one house, who are mostly males.

An eyewitness and a daughter of one of the abductees, Hafsat Habib Kusfa, said the bandits broke into their home around midnight and went from room to room bringing out all the occupants and thereafter assembled them in the compound of the house.

She explained that the gunmen spoke Fulani among themselves and Hausa when they wanted to talk to their captives.

According to her, after some arguments, the gunmen told her to go back into the house to take care of the children along with a nursing mother, who is her stepmother.

“Thereafter, they took away my father, mother, sister, and my brothers. All in all they took eight people from our residence. We also saw some of their colleagues bringing out other people mostly males from our neighbourhood and later went away with them.

“About seven gunmen stormed our residence, those that I saw with my eyes and two of them outside were about 30 years of age, while those that came to pick us from our rooms were between ages 15 and 20,” Hafsat said.

Kusfa confirmed the release of her father and mother, whom she said were immediately hospitalised because none of them could speak.

“From their condition, it is evident that they received severe beating from their abductors which made them ill,” she said.

Unconfirmed report, however, has it that a former bank manager was also abducted at his residence at Graceland area of Kwangila, Zaria, at about 9.00 pm Friday night.

In Imo, two women, including a Reverend sister, were kidnapped at various points in the state on Sunday morning.

In the first incident, a reverend sister was abducted at Dim na Nume, Isu in Nwangele Council Area, a few minutes after a kidnapping took place at Ohii.

It was gathered that the Reverend Sister, whose identity is not known, was driving when the

kidnappers crossed and forced her to stop.
An eyewitness said the kidnappers forced her into their get-away car while one entered and drove her car behind.

In the second incident, worshippers at St Philip’s Anglican Church, Ohii Parish in Owerri West Local Government Area were stunned when some men stormed it at about 7:45 am and kidnapped one Mrs. lkenna Onwusoroaka.

The kidnappers were said to have driven out with her in their car leaving the woman’s vehicle behind.
Youths of Orogwe Archdeaconry who were holding their camp/conference at the church premises had to scamper for safety.

The two incidents came at a time relatives of one Chimezie Okpara, who was kidnapped on Friday at his Umudurunna home, are in quandary over his continued abduction.

Okpara was kidnapped while returning to his house from the market where he had gone to buy things for the burial ceremony of his brother’s father-in-law.

Sources in the family told our correspondent more than 48 hours after the incident, the kidnappers are yet to make contact with the family.

Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Bala Elkana, could not be reached as his phone was switched off.

Meanwhile, a herbalist identified as Chief Azu from Amaohuru Nguru in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area has been murdered along with his nephew, whose wife is heavily pregnant.

The widow, Mrs. Azu said she heard noises in the middle of the night and came out, only to see her compound surrounded by hefty men with torches flashing everywhere.

She said: “I also heard my husband open his door and came out before I heard gun shots and I hid myself.

I don’t know what must have transpired, but I heard them ask him about how he acquired his car and he told them it was a gift from a Reverend Father.”

She added that her husband’s assailants also indicated that they were policemen.

She wondered why they murdered him and his nephew since they claimed to be policemen, because her husband is a herbalist that used traditional medicine to assist people with all kinds of problems.

However, a member of the family who did not want his name mentioned recalled that his deceased father was in court with some members of Amaohuru Community, and wondered why anybody should descend so low as to murder him in cold blood.

Meanwhile, kidnappers of a farmer at Iyemero Ekiti in Ikole Local Government area, Alhaji Jimoh Olodan, have demanded a sum of N30 million for the victim.

He was kidnapped at a farmstead named Elegure about 11pm, on Friday.

The about 18 abductors were said to have invaded the farmstead, which is about three kilometres to Iyemero Ekiti and about 15 minutes drive to the community.

In the process of shooting sporadically into the air to scare residents, the bandits besieged Olodan’s home and whisked him away to an unknown destination.

A source in the town confided in newsmen on Sunday that the kidnappers contacted Olodan’s family around 7.38pm on Saturday and made the demand.

He said: “The people who kidnapped Alhaji Olodan have contacted the family asking for money that has caused serious problem for the victim’s relations.They were asking for a sum of N30m, which the family found to be too outrageous.

“The family and the entire town are very cautious of the safety of the man, because of his role in the community. He is a successful farmer and one of those people we are looking up to.

“They are running around to be able to raise the money, so that the man can be freed. The negotiation is still on with the abductors.”

Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti State Command, ASP Sunday Abutu, said: “We are not aware that they had contacted the family and asked for ransom.

But I know that our men are combing the surrounding bushes in collaboration with local hunters and Amotekun Corps.”

In Delta, the State Police Command at the weekend confirmed the recovery of 138 rounds of ammunition, disclosing that it also made arrest of suspected cultists, among others.

DSP Edafe Bright, Police Public Relations Officer in a statement, said that while Team Eagle-net special squad were on routine patrol/stop and search along Ughelli-Port Hacourt road, it intercepted a Mazda 626 saloon car dark green colour with Reg. No. UGH 722 AA with six occupants, two male and four female.

All occupants were asked to come down from the vehicle for search, in the process of searching, a sack containing rice was discovered, a man whose name is not yet known among the occupants jumped into a nearby stream running while a hot chase ensued.

“But all efforts to catch up with him proved abortive as he escaped into the forest. While the rice bag was identified by other passengers as his own.

When search was conducted on the bag, one hundred and thirty-eight (138) rounds of AK47 live ammunition, one AK47 magazine, one Baretta pistol magazine and a knife were recovered.

He added that preliminary investigation was on to ascertain if the occupants were all passengers that boarded the cab from Eleyele PHC heading to Ughelli while effort is being made to arrest the fleeing suspect.

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The statement further said that as a follow-up to the directive issued to the state anti-cult unit by the Commissioner of Police, CP Ari Muhammed Ali, on the clash in Ogwashi-uku where three suspects were arrested at the weekend, the Commander, SACU acting on a credible intelligence, that another group will be converging in Ogwashi-Uku, detailed and led operatives who raided their hideout and arrested nine suspected cultists.

Exhibits recovered from them include: one English pump action gun, one double barrel cut to size gun, one battle axe and two live cartridges. Investigation is ongoing.

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