•Another missing, 4 others injured as hoodlums attack lawmaker in Ebonyi
•Anambra community, police trade words over death of 20-yr-old girl, 2 policemen
• FG frowns at murder of Policemen in Anambra, IPOB denies involvement
By Vincent Ujumadu, Emmanuel Elebeke & Peter Okutu
Tension yesterday, gripped Ebonyi and Anambra communities as three policemen and a 20-year old girl were feared killed and another officer was declared missing.
In Ebonyi, four officers were injured during an attack in Effium Community of Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State while the Police in Ihiala and Azia local government area are trading words over the killing of a 20-year-old girl and the alleged murder of two policemen during a reprisal attack.
Vanguard gathered that the victims in Ebonyi were attacked alongside an Ebonyi lawmaker, Hon. Chinedu Awo, representing Ohaukwu North constituency in the State House of Assembly.
The four wounded policemen were rushed to the Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki where they are presently receiving treatment.
A source confirmed that two of the policemen have successfully undergone surgery at the hospital while a senior Police officer who led the team and who was shot on the leg asked to be discharged.
The wounded Lawmaker is said to be stable after he was treated at the hospital.
The victims were reportedly attacked at Effium where they went in search of the kidnapped Consultant handling the Ebonyi ring road project.
The Consultant was abducted alongside four others with him three weeks ago.
It was gathered that the lawmaker led the team to confirm the report that the kidnapped victims may have been killed and buried in the area.
Vanguard reliably gathered that the victims were said to be on their way to Effium community when the hoodlums opened fire on them.
Effium, which the lawmaker represents in the State House of Assembly, has been enmeshed in an intra-communal war with Ezza-Effium both of Ohaukwu LGA of the state.
The war has reportedly claimed over hundreds lives and property worth billions.
Three weeks ago, a Consultant handling the Ebonyi ring road project and four others with him were kidnapped along the Effium axis of the ring road while supervising the project.
The kidnapped victims are yet to be found as of the time of filing this report.
Also, 17 persons were said to have been killed in the area in an attack on residents by unknown gunmen.
Meanwhile, Ebonyi State Police Command, yesterday said three of its policemen sustained bullet wounds while two were abducted during the attack.
According to the statement by the State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Loveth Odah, efforts were made by the command to ensure the rescue of the abducted Police officers.
“On 28/11/2021, at about 1340hrs, while the Police operatives were returning from investigation in connection with the three missing engineers who were abducted in the same area on the 3rd of November, 2021 while on ring road site project, the operatives were in the company of Hon. Chinedu Awo, a member Representing Ohaukwu North Constituency in the State House of Assembly who accompanied the operatives to enable him to dialogue with the warriors at Igbuduoke village in Effium/Ezza clan ‘the warring community. They were ambushed by armed Ezza warriors numbering over sixty (60) who attacked them from all flanks but the operatives gallantry fought back, resulting in heavy casualties on the side of the attackers.
“However, DSP Bruno Chukwu and two others sustained bullet wounds and are currently responding to treatment, while two Police officers by name, Sergeant Donatus Osuagwu and Sergeant Thaddeus Ugoeze are suspected to have been abducted by the hoodlums as they were discovered missing in action.
“Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police Ebonyi State Command, CP. Aliyu Garba led a convoy of about seven teams on reinforcement where they cordoned off the forest and searched the village but could not see the missing officers nor the perpetrators.
Efforts are in top gear to ensure the perpetrators are tracked down and arrested.”
Anambra community, Police trade words over death of 20-yr-old girl, 2 policemen
In Anambra, it was alleged that policemen patrolling the Azia -Orsumoghu axis shot a girl, Chidinma who was sent on an errand by her aged mother.
Although the police denied the allegation, the president-general of Azia General Assembly, Dr. Tonna Nwabueze has petitioned the Inspector General of Police over the matter.
According to the petition, Chidinma and her brother were shot at close range by a team member of the Special Unit from inside an armored vehicle.
Nwabueze said although Chidinma’s brother who was with her was spared, the bullet shattered Chidinma’s head with the brain matter on the ground.
The PG said: “She died instantly. It’s quite unimaginable because there was no form of provocation that could be linked to this.
“Presently, her body is deposited at a hospital morgue at Okija, Anambra.
“About 100 meters from the site of this incident, the police equally opened fire on a Sienna Space Bus parked by a block industry.
“We contacted the Area Commander of the police on this and he told us that the policemen are a Special Unit from Awka deployed in Orsumoghu against the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra”.
However, the police denied involvement even as it consoled the family of Miss Chidimma.
In a statement signed by Mr. Toochukwu Ikenga, the Police Public Relations Officer, the state police command debunked the community’s claim.
Ikenga said that on the fateful day, a police escort team consisting of seven policemen and three civilian drivers travelling through Azia/Osumoghu Road was ambushed by some armed men, adding that two police officers were killed in the attack and their bodies burnt, while one of the officers was still missing.
According to him, the peddlers of the misinformation about Chidinma’s death anchored their claims on the fact that they saw an Armoured Personnel Carrier passing through Azia/Osumoghu junction when the alleged incident happened.
“The police rescue team on arrival at Azia/Osumoghu junction came under indiscriminate shooting with Improvised Explosive Devices thrown at their vehicles by hoodlums who earlier attacked a police escort team.
“Police operatives repelled the attack and recovered two earlier stolen rifles belonging to the police. Throughout the operation, no innocent citizen, talk less of children were sighted in the area.
FG frowns at murder of Policemen in Anambra
Meantime, the Federal Government has strongly condemned the gruesome murder of two policemen, warning that those who carried out the killings, videotaped their heinous act and circulated such will be apprehended and brought to justice.
In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described the abduction of three policemen and the killing of two of them in a most horrific, barbaric and cannibalistic manner, as an unacceptable attack against“the state.
The statement read in part: ”We have credible information that ASP Francis Idoko (AP No. 154945); Inspector Emmanuel Akubo (AP No. 222336) and Inspector Rufai Adamu (AP. No. 285009), all serving officers of the Nigeria Police, were abducted by members of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, acting on the instructions of their leader, Chinonso Okafor, aka Gentle, on 27 Nov. 2021.
”Two of the officers, Inspectors Akubo and Adamu, were killed in the most gruesome manner and their decapitated bodies videotaped and circulated widely. The leader of the ESN team that killed the two officers is one ‘Gentle.
”Chinonso Okafor, the most influential commander of ESN in charge of Imo and Anambra States, as well as ‘Gentle’ and all those who perpetrated the abhorrent act will be made to face swift and sure“justice.”
The minister insisted that targeting and killing of security agents, under any guise, is a direct attack on the state and will not be tolerated.
He said the continued attacks on security agents as well as agencies of government by ESN/IPOB are diametrically opposed to the call in certain quarters for a political solution to the IPOB issue and wondered why those making such calls have yet to condemn the appalling murder of serving police officers.
The Minister paid tribute to the officers who made the supreme sacrifice in the service of their fatherland, as well as all security agents who are serving the nation to the best of their ability in a most difficult moment.
He also condoled with the families of the slain officers, praying that God will comfort and strengthen them.
IPOB denies involvement
However, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has denied involvement in the killing of two police officers in Anambra State, saying: “The only crime IPOB could be accused of is arousing the consciousness of the masses to see the danger before them. ESN has nothing to do with the killing in Biafraland, ask the government, they’re sponsoring it. Why is it difficult for them to label herdsmen a terrorist group?”
In addition, the younger brother of the leader of the outlawed group said IPOB, Kanunta Kanu, also absolved IPOB from the killings, saying that the group was not involved in the killing of the officers.
The Anambra Police Command had said that some unknown gunmen killed the policemen and burnt their bodies.
A statement on Sunday by the command’s spokesman, Ikenga Tochukwu, said the slain officers were travelling with their colleagues when they were ambushed by the gunmen last week Thursday.
According to Tochukwu, one officer is still missing, while other officers escaped the ambush and rescued two civilian drivers travelling with them.
“In the attack, two police officers were killed and their bodies were burnt while one of the officers is still missing.”