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Security agencies burn Enugu community after gunmen kill two policemen, four others

Combined security operatives led by Nigerian Police Force have reportedly burnt down Igga community in Uzo-Uwani local government area of Enugu State, killing some villagers.

The attack in the community, it was gathered, followed a report of the killing of two policemen and three members of the Enugu State Neighbourhood Watch Group by rampaging hoodlums.

It had been confirmed that the security operatives killed one villager in what appears to a reprisal attack on the community.

It was gathered that the hoodlums had Friday evening attacked and killed the security operatives at Ada Rice Production Nigeria Limited, a farm settlement close to the community following an operation by the suspected Eastern Security Network (ESN) members to comb the area to ward off invading herders, who had attacked the nearby Nimbo community earlier in the week killing four mourners.

Village sources told journalists in Enugu on Monday, that a day after the attack on the security operatives, the operatives comprising personnel of the Nigerian army and the Nigeria Police Force, invaded the community Saturday night, burning houses and shooting sporadically.

A viral video also showed several houses, motorcycles and other properties burning in the raging flames while some shops were looted in the community.

A voice heard in the background of the video said: “This is Igga Community being burnt down by the military and the police from Adani Division.

“They are burning houses and shooting sporadically and on people. The community is in danger. Come to our aid. We are not safe. They are shooting at us.”

The development, it was gathered, prompted a protest by women and children in the community, whose video also went viral on Sunday.

One of the villagers, who spoke to newsmen on the condition of anonymity, said that the security operatives razed several houses during the invasion of the community.

“Last night, army and police invaded Igga Community and burnt many houses and in the process, one of us, Richard Okoye died. He was running for his life when he fell and died.

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“They came into the community yesterday (Saturday) at about 10 p.m. and stayed till 12 to 1 a.m burning houses and looting people’s shops. We all ran away and asked our youths not to retaliate.”

While disclosing that those who had alternatives had fled their homes, the villager added that those still taking refuge in the forests were now living in fear, not knowing whether the attack would continue.

Meanwhile, the Enugu State Police Command has confirmed the attack even as command was silent on the reprisal attack.

According to the command, the attack was unprovoked and unwarranted gruesome murder of two Policemen and three Neighbourhood Watch Group members carried out by “harboured criminal members of the Igga Community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area, in the evening hours of Friday, May 3, 2024”.

The command’s spokesman, Daniel Ndukwe, who confirmed the incident in statement on Monday, said that when the incident happened, a combined security team of three policemen and four Neighbourhood Watch Group provided security for a team of visiting investors from Lagos on a tour of a proposed agricultural investment site in the area.

“However, the team was ambushed and attacked by a large group of the criminal elements, who opened fire on them.

“Upon the unprovoked sudden attack, members of the team scampered for safety, while an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), who led the team, one Neighbourhood Watch personnel, and the three (3) member team of investors were later rescued by a policemen team that immediately mobilized to the crime scene. But the eventually murdered members of the team went missing and unaccounted for.

“However, in the course of a full-scale investigation and a search and manhunt operation launched thereafter, three males suspected to have masterminded the attack were arrested.

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“Their revelations during interrogation led to the discovery and recovery of the slain policemen and Neighborhood Watch Group members in the forest on May 4, 2024.

“Their lifeless bodies were taken to the hospital, confirmed dead by doctors, and deposited in the mortuary for preservation and autopsy”.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, Kanayo Uzuegbu, has ordered further deployment of the command’s intelligence and operational resources to sustain the manhunt of the fleeing criminals, describing the “unprovoked criminal act of the gruesome murder of the personnel as inconceivable, dastardly, and unwarranted”.

The CP vowed that the police will stop at nothing to fish out and bring the perpetrators of the senseless act to book.

The CP further cautioned “those who, in an attempt to misinform and mislead unsuspecting members of the public, are circulating unverified videos alleging the burning and looting of houses in the community by joint forces to desist forthwith”.

Ede Nwa Ede
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