BY CHIDI NKWOPARA
A horde of angry youths believed to be loyalists of Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) have unleashed mayhem in Amaraku, a sleepy rural community in Isiala Mbano local council area of Imo State.
Already, property estimated at millions of Naira, including houses and other personal effects, have been destroyed, burnt or looted by the rioters, while traffic was held up for several hours on the busy Owerri-Okigwe federal highway.
A villager, who simply identified himself as Chuks for security reasons, told Vanguard that “the party loyalists were protesting the alleged kidnapped of an ACN chieftain, Mr. Obinna Onuegbu alias OMO”.
While saying that “the protest has political and criminal undertone”, Chuks wondered why the yopuths should willingly destroy people’s properties in the name of protesting against the alleged kidnap.
“I have every reason to believe that the protest has political undertone. It also smacks of criminality. I wonder why the youths should decend on innocent citizens in the manner they did”, Chuks said.
Answering a question, Chuks said the rioters have a right to demand immediate release of Onuegbu by his abductors, but promising that they will make the area most unsafe for everybody is unacceptable.
Another school of thought had it that Onuegbu was allegedly had some sophisticated weapons on him before he was apprehended on his way to the home of another chieftain of the party.
“His arrest last Sunday, precipitated the riot at Amaraku by supporters of ACN. The rioters are misguided because this is not the first kidnap case in the state, the current general elections notwithstanding”, Chuks said.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Linus Nwaiwu, an assistant superintendent of police, confirmed the story when he was contacted on his mobile line.
“The police is aware of the incident. We have sent a detachment of our men to the area. We are expecting a detailed account of the situation from them”, Nwaiwu said.
Answering another question, the PPRO said he was not aware of any death resulting from the riot and warned that the law will take its full course if anybody or group was found liable of any offence.