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Town union chief killed, over 70 houses set ablaze in Enugu village

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Enugu state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

Oruku community, Nkanu East local government council in Enugu State boiled again on Wednesday after the killing of the vice chairman of the town union, Chief Samuel Ani.

Ani was allegedly shot dead by unidentified gunmen on Wednesday morning. The incident led to the burning of over 70 buildings in the community by the invaders before they reportedly fled the area.

The incident was the third since December 2020 in the community.

On December 26, 2020, gunmen said to have dressed in police uniforms from Abuja had invaded the town union meeting and killed the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Emmanuel Mba, leaving scores with injuries.

Igwe Mba, whose remains still lie at a morgue, was murdered while addressing the annual general meeting of the community.

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His murder, in which some members of the community were fingered, sparked off a chain of crisis leading to the burning of several houses and the only market in the community.

A few weeks after, in January this year, another set of gunmen invaded the community at a weekend, shooting sporadically and setting ablaze some targets. Many residents fled the village after that episode.

Although a detachment of security personnel was stationed in the community after the second attack to forestall further killings and burning of houses, shootings had not abated in the community.

A community leader, Mr Agozie Anih who spoke to reporters on Wednesday said Chief Ani was shot and killed Wednesday morning in his home.

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“There was heavy shooting throughout the night. Police deployed to maintain peace were nowhere to be found,” Anih said. “This morning Chief Samuel Ani of Oruku caretaker committee was shot and killed in his home.”

The Chairman Neighborhood watch group, Mr Emmanuel Ndubuisi Ani also confirmed the killing of Chief Ani, saying “the same people who conspired with policemen from Abuja and killed our monarch, burnt our houses have also killed the Vice chairman, Oruku Caretaker Committee setup by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.

“As I am speaking with you, we are taking his body to the mortuary in Enugu State capital.”

Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police in Enugu state, Mohammed Aliyu confirmed the incident.

“Yes, I have received the report and I have dispatched my men to the area with the aim of ensuring that there are no further casualties”, he said.

Aliyu stated that details about the incident were still sketchy; assuring that he would brief reporters as soon as he received full information on the matter.

The Guardian gathered that the killing of the Town Union Vice Chairman may not be unconnected with the ongoing judicial panel of inquiry set up by the government to probe into the killing of the Oruku traditional ruler among other uprisings in the community.

A source revealed that the town union is billed to make its presentation at the panel on Thursday, adding that the killing is part of efforts to instill fears in the town union leadership and probably stop them from appearing before the panel.

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