Unknown gunmen comb Anambra communities for weapons, others
Unknown gunmen (UGM) now addressed as Umuoma (nice persons) in Anambra State, at the weekend, reportedly combed some Anambra communities in search of weapons.
The Guardian learnt that several communities are beginning to witness the invasion of UGM, who go from house to house and vigilante groups to disarm them and collect their arms.
To identify the invaders, some residents, who do not want to be seen as leaking information on the identity and operations of the UGM, prefer to discuss their activities in hushed tones, describing them as Umuoma (the nice persons).
On Friday night, members of the UGM gang stormed Ebenator Community in Nnewi South Council, as they moved from house to house to snatch guns from the villagers, especially members of the Anambra Vigilante Group (AVG) in the community.
A source, who pleaded anonymity, told The Guardian that the gunmen, numbering about 30, stormed the community around about 11:00p.m. and started moving from house to house to dispossess security operatives of their guns.
The source said in each house they entered, they tied up all the adult male family members, beat them with machetes and dispossessed them of their valuables, including cash, cell phones, guns and other belongings.
It was learnt that the Umuoma injured some villagers, especially those who dared them or refused to hand over their guns.
They were also alleged to have recently snatched some motorcycles from some young men in Ebenator Community, in the expectation that they would honour invitation to visit their camps to pay ₦15,000 and above as ransom to recover their seized items.
Source also confirmed that it had become mandatory for any person or group planning burial ceremonies or any social event to register with them to get clearance before hosting such event, failing which members of the group would storm the place and disrupt the occasion.
“This happened again on Monday, February 28, 2022 in Ezinifite, where gunmen disrupted a burial ceremony with gunshots, beat up the security men at the event, while the mourners and guests fled the venue.
“Every Monday is now a stay-at-home day in the area, because members of the Umuoma gang patrol around, especially around the Abanator Market in Ezinifite, to enforce the sit-at-home order,” the source said.
The source, who identified himself as Sam, said people no longer come out or go about their normal activities in the area on Mondays due to fear of being harassed, adding that the unknown gunmen recently invaded other neighbouring villages and Ezinifite Community.
It was also learnt that the UGM wrote to the traditional rulers of the community to gather all the guns of the vigilante men in the community at a certain venue, where they went and took them away on the scheduled date in the letter.
It would be recalled that Ezinifite Community, through Ulasi River, shares boundary with Lilu, Amaruru and some other places that have become major flashpoint where the unknown gunmen freely operate.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of Anambra State Command, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, said he was not aware of the development, but assured that the command would investigate the report and do the needful.