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Gunmen abduct ex-Assembly speaker, four others in Imo

By Collins Osuji (Owerri), Uzoma Nzeagwu and Osiberoha Osibe (Awka)
11 January 2022   |   3:28 am
In what looks like renewed onslaught in Imo State, unknown gunmen, yesterday, kidnapped a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Lawman Duruji and four others.

• Invade Anambra communities, set vehicle ablaze

In what looks like renewed onslaught in Imo State, unknown gunmen, yesterday, kidnapped a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Lawman Duruji and four others.

The Guardian learnt that Duruji, who was Speaker during the Rochas Okorocha administration, was kidnapped from his country home in Oriagu, Ehime Mbano Council while returning from a function.

The incident happened on the heels of the abduction of the wife of former Transition Committee Chairman of Okigwe Council, Frank Onwunere.
An Owerri-based businessman, popularly known as Ezzybee, was also whisked away at St. Benigunus Catholic Church, Umudagu, Mbaeri in Mbaitoli Council shortly after Sunday service.

It was also learnt that two other unidentified persons were kidnapped the same day at Okwelle Junction in the Onuimo Council, as well as Umbomiri Junction in Mbaitoli and Amaraku in Isiala Mbano councils.

When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) at the state police command, Michael Abattam, said the command had commenced trailing the kidnappers, adding that the police had rescued one of victims who was kidnapped at Ubomiri.

MEANWHILE, there was pandemonium in Oko Community, Orumba North Council and Ekwulobia in Aguata Council of Anambra State, as gunmen engaged in shooting spree in the area yesterday.

The Guardian learnt that suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) infiltrated the boundary of the communities and started shooting sporadically, causing panic in the area.

As a result of the heavy shooting, people scampered for safety, as a Toyota Sienna vehicle belonging to an unidentified indigene of Isuofia, a neighbouring community to Ekwulobia was set ablaze.

Spokesman of the Anambra State Police Command, DSP Toochukwu Ikenga, who confirmed the incident, said the Commissioner of Police (CP), Echeng Eworo had deployed men to the area.

He said: “The CP Echeng has ordered reinforcement teams from the command headquarters to intensify patrols around Onitsha, Nnewi, Ihiala, Aguata, Awka and other parts of the state.

“The reinforcement teams comprise Police Mobile Operatives, Counter Terrorist Units, Special Forces and other tactical teams. They will address any security concern that may arise and forestall any breakdown of law and order in the state.”

However, IPOB has denied banning cow meats in South East, as against its earlier directive that Fulani cows would no longer be used for ceremonies in the region.

In a New Year address signed by Mazi Chika Edoziem (HOD), IPOB said the ban would take effect from April 2022, adding that native cows would be used in lieu.

But in a statement issued yesterday by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, the group insisted that it banned cows destroying farms and those of herdsmen raping women in their farms.