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Northerners flee Anambra over fear of reprisal

BY VINCENT UJUMADU
AWKA—FOLLOWING the threat by the secterian group, Boko Haram, asking Christians in the Northern part of the country to leave the area within three days, an ultimatum that expired yesterday, many northerners residing in various parts of Anambra State have been deserting their places of business and fleeing to unknown places.

Though there was no threat to their lives whatsoever in any part of the state, some of them said they did not want to take chances, in view of the warning by the Boko Haram sect.

In Awka, most of the northerners who serve as security guards and foreign exchange traders were seen moving in groups to the border town of Amansea in Awka which has a large concentration of northerners.

It was not clear yesterday if they intended to depart the state completely, but many house holds that engaged their services said they returned from New Year celebration only to discover that their guards had abandoned their duty posts.

At a popular residential estate in Awka GRA, the northerners guarding the area approached their employers yesterday demanding that they be paid off because they were afraid to continue with the job. Not even the assurances of the residents could make them change their mind as they moved out soon after collecting their money.

Suya spots in the town have also disappeared, while some of the popular yam, onion and tomato markets did not have commodities yesterday because the trailer drivers bringing them did not come.

One of the guards, Mohammed, said:  “It is not that we do not like to remain here. The reason we want to leave is due to the threat by Boko Haram which made our people to ask us to return immediately.”

He, however, promised that they would come back when the situation of things normalized.

The popular Bridge Head goat market in Onitsha has also been deserted as the northerners selling in the market could not be seen.


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