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Enugu: Ikem-Isioroto community laments menace of kidnappers

By Lawrence Njoku, Enugu
25 January 2023   |   3:43 am
Less than one week after six persons were kidnapped in Ikem-Isioroto, in Isiuzo local government council, Enugu state, another native of the area was reportedly kidnapped yesterday.

Less than one week after six persons were kidnapped in Ikem-Isioroto, in Isiuzo local government council, Enugu state, another native of the area was reportedly kidnapped yesterday.

The incidents have sent the community members into refuge in neighbouring villages as commuters desert the Obollo Afor – Nkalagu trunk A federal highway for fear of falling victims.

It was gathered that a commuter along the road was kidnapped on Tuesday after multiple gunshots, even as relatives of one of the previously kidnapped 70-year-old Benjamin Ogbodo said the kidnappers have made ransom demand of N5 million.

According to a native of Isioroto, Ekene Nnaji, “The unknown gunmen returned to Ikem on Tuesday and kidnapped a hapless traveller at Isioroto, the same strategic spot where most of the incidents have taken place. He was travelling from Obollo through Ikem and was stopped by the gunmen at about 6: a.m. They shot him and dragged him out of the car into the bush and headed towards the boundary with Benue State.

He said: “The community quickly raised alarm. Soldiers were called in and they combed the forest with the local vigilantes. They tracked the kidnappers through the blood of their latest victim till Ado River, meaning they had crossed into Benue State. The search party then returned”.

Put together, the kidnappers now have seven people in captivity, including a female National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member and the 70-year-old Ogbodo, who is father to a Catholic priest.

The villagers said they have been unable to raise the ransom demand, noting that the kidnappers were getting more desperate as the deadline for changing of Naira notes approaches on January 31.

“We now live in fear and we are running away from our homes for fear of being kidnapped because the gunmen terrorise us morning and evening without challenge. The security operatives arrive when they are gone. We are calling for a mobile police post at Ugwuatu, the hot spot, and a strengthening of the local vigilantes and forest guards by the Enugu State government to contain the menace. We are also calling on the DSS, to act on intelligence given to them and arrest the suspects swiftly before they leave their present location,” Nnaji pleaded.

Meanwhile, the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was reported to have summoned leaders of Ikem community to Enugu Government House in a bid to find solution to the problem.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Daniel Ndukwe, could not pick a call put to him, just like the Command is yet to make any statement on the series of kidnapping that have lasted for over 10 days in the community.