By Chinenyeh Ozor
Enugu— Nimbo Community in Uzo Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, is now a ghost town following the activities of a gang of criminals known as Malaysian Boys. The gang had been kidnapping, maiming and killing both indigenes and passersby in the last two years, while disguising themselves as Fulani herdsmen. Most indigenous people of the area did not return for last year’s Christmas celebration for fear of either being kidnapped for ransom or getting killed by the Malaysian Boys. The senator representing Enugu North Senatorial District, Chuka Utazi is from Amaezike Nkpologu, a stone throw from Nimbo.
However, Nimbo came to national limelight following the attack on the agrarian community by Fulani herdsmen on April 25, 2016, when scores of farmers were killed and several others injured.
However, while the people were still re-living the sad memories of the herdsmen’s attack, the dangerous Malaysian Boys gang emerged in the area, terrorizing residents and visitors alike. No fewer than 30 natives and non-natives had either been killed or maimed by members of the gang since their activities escalated about two years ago.
The activities of the Malaysian Boys first came to limelight when they murdered the former Chief Security Officer of Uzo Uwani Local Government, Ejiofor Enechi in October.
Before the incident, the group had carried out several deadly attacks on innocent and unsuspecting people including visitors to the community.
It was learnt that apart from avoiding coming home during the last Yuletide, most people from Uzo Uwani living outside the area had stopped visiting home for fear of being maimed or killed like fowls. The last Christmas and New Year celebrations in the community were said to have been on an all-time low as Nimbo and environs were no- go areas.
The public outcry arising from the nefarious activities of the group prompted the Enugu State Police Command to declare some identified members of the Malaysian Boys wanted, recently.
Since the invasion of the area by Fulani herdsmen, the Malaysian Boys had taken over from the herdsmen by unleashing mayhem on the people, leading to the death of Ejiofor Enechi and his cousin, Emmanuel Okejah and one Dennis Ajogwu among other important personalities in the area. Some prominent personalities including the Parish Priest of the Catholic Church in the area had fled their homes following threat to their lives by the Malaysian Boys. The Malaysian Boys were said to have attempted to burn down the church’s Parish House following allegations that the priest preached against their atrocities during one of his sermons. The criminals were however, persuaded to abandon the burning of the parish by concerned natives who told them that the house belonged to the Catholics in the area and not the priest. They were also told that burning the parish house would amount to bringing more hardship to the church members in the area as they would be the ones to rebuild same, and not the Catholic priest who would be posted elsewhere, if the house was burnt.
The Malaysian Boys were so much dreaded that nobody in Nimbo, Adani or Ugbene could organise any social activity like wedding, birthday or funeral without taking “permission,” from them. Any person who failed to get such permit by paying between N30,000 and N50,000 could face serious embarrassment as his or her visitors could either be kidnapped with the attendant ransom or even killed in addition to such activities being disorganised by the gang members.
A security man who buried his relation recently in the area said that he paid N30,000 to secure the approval of the Malaysian Boys for the funeral to hold, adding that “the ammunition in the hands of the criminals” were very sophisticated.
“They fired some shots sporadically as sign of approval to my request and what I heard showed me that they were well armed to engage any security agency in a duel. The experience was revealing,” he said.
But following public outcry, the police declared some identified members of the Malaysian Boys gang, said to be mainly made up of youths from Nimbo, Abbi, Ugbene, Nrobo, and other communities in Uzo Uwani as well as Aku Community in the nearby Igbo Etiti Local Government Area of the state, wanted. Before the new Police offensive, most of all the atrocities committed by the Malaysian Boys were blamed on Fulani herdsmen. The gangsters raped young girls and women; robbed their innocent victims or kidnapped others whom they later killed.
The atrocities of the Malaysian Boys continued as political leaders in the local government neither condemned such actions nor publicly called their children to order.
Investigations showed that the Malaysian cult group use an expanse of forest bordering Uzo Uwani and Kogi State as their operational base. The large expanse of fertile land serves as farm land for the over 75 per cent population of the local government which is the “bread basket,” of the state. The area is now infamously known as the Malaysia Forest.
A resident of the area, who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the South-East Voice that “farmers have left the area in fear due to the activities of the cult group that also rob, kidnap and kill for ritual purposes.”
Those declared wanted by the Police include Simon Okweri alias Miri; Godwin Ezea popularly known as Ratty; Okwudiri Aji also known as Nwa Chelsea; Chigbogu Ozor (Earthquake) and Dan Oji.
They also included one Ikechukwu alias Master; Ifeanyi Okoro alias Bukar; one Matthew; Marcel Ojike; Ogbobe Ajulu; Odumodu alias Asogwa, Mike also known as Anyi Anyi and Hyacinth Ugwu Julius, John Okwelli; Anselem also known as Photo; Ikechukwu Aaron; Nnamdi Michael; Gabriel also known as Gabos as well as others who were simply identified as Fela, Zero and Akwasa among others.
Some community members who spoke to South-East Voice on strict condition of anonymity said that “The entire community is under siege with several people leaving the community for fear of the group.
“The group is heavily suspected to be involved in several crimes including kidnapping, ritual killing, armed robbery and rape in Nimbo and its environs.
“We discovered that even during the last Christmas, many people did not return for fear of the group; we really need help.”
The Police sources further said that the Malaysian Boys and their cohorts had always committed heinous crimes in the local government area and environs but the height of it was the killing of Ejiofor Enechi who was kidnapped on December 13, 2016 and taken to the Malaysian Forest. Ejiofor, the brother of the late veteran Sports Writer, Emeka Enechi, was kidnapped by his abductors who later demanded and received N2million ransom before being killed and buried in the forest.
According to Police sources, the Malaysian Boys had initially planted a fake story around Ejiofor’s kidnap until its Anti-Kidnapping Unit was able to crack the riddle by identifying the members of the group as being responsible for both the kidnap and several other crimes.
Malaysian Boys as Warriors of Nimbo
Before the Police burst the criminal activities of the Malaysian Boys open, sources in the community had explained that the inaction of the community leaders allegedly encouraged the group. According to the sources, “the leaders of the community have never condemned the activities of the group. Rather than condemn their activities, they were patronised and described as the warriors of Nimbo.
“Sometime in 2015, one Dennis Ajogwu was murdered in front of his house at Ngwoko Nimbo by the Malaysian Boys. An attempt to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the crime was thwarted by some people in the community.
“The Police detectives from the state CID who were investigating the case were also attacked and their vehicles vandalised. Earlier, some police detectives who came from the Area Command at Nsukka were attacked by some members of the Malaysian Boys gang who killed one of the officers. The Malaysian Boys shook off all the bullets fired at them even as the Divisional Police Officer for the area was not available to give direction or lead the onslaught against the Nimbo Warriors. The ‘warriors’ who confronted the detectives on their Bajaj motorcycles later drove off unharmed.
“Nobody was arrested or prosecuted for the crime, rather some people in the community paid for the repair of the Police vehicles,” the source further stated.
It was learned that apart from encouraging the illegal activities of the group, some leaders of the community had been frustrating the trial of a suspect arrested for the murder of the late Emmanuel Okejah.
“Some people are using their contacts in the state Ministry of Justice and Directorate of Public Prosecution, DPP, to frustrate the case against the suspect whose name was simply given as Ignatius. So far, the case has come up more than three times in court without any representation from the DPP and the fiat applied by the family to allow it prosecute the case on behalf of the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice has not been granted by the ministry for over three months now.
Security sources said that the Malaysian Boys waxed stronger as they threatened or attempted to kill several persons who tried to sabotage their activities in Nimbo.
According to the sources, those who were targeted because the criminals thought they were working with the Police included one Mr. Emmanuel Nwokolo (aka Cotonou) whose house was completely burnt down by the group.
Barely a week after burning down his house, they reportedly attacked several properties including one belonging to an elder of Ameke kindred at Ukpabi, Nimbo, Mr. Peter Otobo. The sporadic shooting at Ukpabi on the property of Mr. Peter Otobo left one Pius Odum, a shop owner within the premises, with bullet wounds. They also attacked a funeral procession at Akaha Ebor, Nimbo where one person was allegedly killed.
Ameke kindred of the community cries foul
An elder from Ameke clan explained that the so called Malaysia group had threatened to kill every member of their kindred. Both Ejiofor Enechi and Emmanuel Okejah were from the clan. He alleged that prior to the distribution of a written message from the Malaysian Boys that the kindred will be wiped out, a group which operated in Ukpabi-Nimbo had on October 15, 2017, attacked the property belonging to Ejiofor Enechi shouting at the top of their voices that every member of the kindred would be wiped out. It was the same message that the Malaysia group later put into writing.
A week later, on October 22, 2017, an assassination attempt was made on the life of Mr. Okechukwu Enechi, the immediate elder brother of Ejiofor Enechi who was earlier killed by the gang.
It was said that some gunmen jumped over the fence while the said Okechukwu Enechi was sitting inside the premises and started shooting, targeting the position where he was seated.
Enugu Police’s stand
Confirming the criminal activities of criminals in Nimbo and environs, the Enugu State Police Command’s spokesman, Superintendent Ebere Amaraizu, said the command had issued a warrant of arrest for all the members of the dreaded Malaysian Boys.
Amaraizu urged members of the public to urgently furnish the command with information that could lead to their arrest, pointing out that the command had intensified manhunt for the fleeing Malaysian Boys who had been a thorn in the flesh of law-abiding members of the public within Nimbo and Adani axis of Uzo- Uwani Local Government Area.
“They are advised in their own interest to report to the state Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department, CIID, of the command in Enugu.
“The command gathered that these fleeing suspected hoodlums and mischief-makers masquerading under the aegis of Malaysian Boys, operate in their habitat at the dreaded Malaysian Forest. They come out to unleash mayhem on residents of Nimbo community and its environs,” he said.
Amaraizu had added that the police were, however, working with relevant stakeholders to fish out the suspected members of the group from anywhere they might be within and outside the country.
According to Amaraizu, the police had, acting on intelligence reports, earlier raided the said dreaded forest and arrested some members of the gang after a gun duel while some others escaped, appealing to law-abiding members of the public within Nimbo and Adani axis of Uzo-Uwani Council Area to keep calm and go about their normal activities.