Natives flee Abode as security operatives invade Enugu community
For the second time, natives of Akpawfu community, Nkanu East local council of Enugu State fled their community yesterday following its invasion by a combined team of security operatives said to be searching for unknown gunmen.
A source said the operatives, who invaded the area in four Hilux vans, were in search of members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) who allegedly maintained a camp in the area.
The team was made up of soldiers and police officials. Although a reliable source disclosed that heavy sound of gunfire was heard from the area and within Akpugo and Amagunze communities, the casualty figure could not be ascertained as at press time.
The raid, said to have started about 4.30am, was the second time in the last few weeks. The first occurred on June 30 through July 1.
The Guardian gathered that the latest invasion followed Wednesday’s killing of about four policemen and other civilians at a checkpoint in Obeagu-Uno in the same council area by gunmen who also set a patrol van ablaze.
Sources stated that the operatives, who were armed to the teeth, also searched house-to-house, arresting scores of youths and able-bodied men.
They were said to have mounted four armoured tanks and other operational vehicles in strategic places within the community, particularly, Agudene village.
It was learnt that the soldiers were claiming that the houses belong to community members whom they alleged harboured the gunmen.
The attack, another source revealed, might not be unconnected with reports that the gunmen who killed policemen had entered the community from nearby Akpugo and in the process, one of their Hilux vans summersaulted near St. Philip Catholic Church, Akpawfu.
The operation by the soldiers, it was learned, had turned the once peaceful community into a ghost town, as many youths, old men and women escaped to the bushes, while those still in the community live in fear, following incessant harassment by soldiers.
A source, who craved anonymity said: “As I’m talking to you, all young men and even women have fled the community as the soldiers claimed that those houses being searched were used as camping grounds by the gunmen.
“For me, I don’t know if that is true. What I know is that the gunmen drove past our community towards Abakaliki. Why Army is punishing us is what I don’t understand.
“Our youths are running away to other towns because we know that the Army will see the youths here as targets.”
Attempt to speak with the Police Public Relations Officer, Daniel Ndukwe, was not successful as his phone rang out without response. He had also not responded to text messages sent to his phone at the time of filing this report.
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