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How police in Imo invaded community…

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Assaulted and kidnapped 70-yr-old man, others

By Ifeanyi Okolie

Residents of Amazu-Uno, Arondizuogu Community in Ideator North Local Government Area of Imo State will not forget in a hurry, the fate that befell them on August 14, 2009.

It was a day one of their sons and a prominent politician unleashed mayhem on the same people he used their mandate to get political power. The politician (names withheld) was alleged to had, without provocation, stormed the community with over 20 policemen and not only assaulted but kidnapped some of the villagers, among them, a 70-year-old man.

The incident which reportedly took place around 4am jolted the entire village and its environs resulting in a stampede and confusion that lasted the whole day.   Those who survived the onslaught reportedly emerged from the bush where they ran for safety, nursing their wounds.

In a petition to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), dated August 17, 2009 and signed by two  leaders of the community,  Mazi Johnson Nwosu and Mazi Nnamdi Ozim, they said that on the fateful day, the community had not suspected anything untoward because it was not unusual for their son to visit the village in company of truckloads of policemen “who occasionally harass and beat innocent villagers”.

“However, on this occasion, the politician and his policemen took their harassment and intimidation a step further. They waited until 4am that fateful morning before raiding the homes of some of the elders in the village, dragging  them out of their beds, beating, brutalizing and throwing them into his truck, not minding that some of these men were over 70 years old”, they stated.

According to the petition, the alleged attack continued until some villagers raised alarm and   sensing that a riot may erupt, the assailants quickly disappeared with some of the elders they had seized, among them: Emmanuel Okeke, Marcel Uba and Linus Ekemezie.

During a search, the villagers went to Urualla police  station, the nearest to the community, where it was discovered that  the policemen who allegedly carried out the assault and abduction came from the Owerri Central Police Station and that they did not make any entry at the home police station before embarking on their action.

At the Central Police Station Owerri, the abducted elders were found to have been cramped up in a cell without being told why they were arrested.

“They also confirmed that no statements were taken from them and that they were neither questioned about any offence nor any charge preferred against them”, they added.

The community leaders maintained that the elders were allegedly kidnapped and humiliated for no reason, using the services of policemen who are supposed to protect them, simply because a fellow citizen could afford to pay the police to do his bidding.

They therefore urged the Inspector-General of Police, Ogbonna Onovo to immediately wade into the matter by investigating the circumstances that surrounded the invasion with a view to bringing the culprits to book.

Meanwhile, uneasy calm has continued to pervade the entire community after the raid while many still live in fear of another attack.

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