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The atmosphere in Eke community, situated in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State, is tension-filled following an incident involving the reported death of a member of the neighborhood vigilante group. The alleged perpetrators are said to be soldiers from the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu.
It’s also learned that in the same community, an alleged shooting incident resulted in the death of a housewife. The circumstances surrounding the incident remain a matter of concern as an investigation kickstarts.
According to reports, the surviving members of the local security network who managed to survive the attack are currently in critical condition, enduring severe pain as they lie in their hospital beds.
The aftermath of the attack has left one of the survivors in an extremely distressing condition, as his penis has been completely shattered. This horrific injury has caused unimaginable pain, deepening the sorrow and outrage within the community.
The passing of Mr. Ebuka Oke becomes even more heartrending when considering that he had already endured the loss of his father only a month earlier.
The bereaved family is left reeling from the pain of two devastating losses.
Despite sustaining multiple gunshot wounds, Mr. Emeka Anigbo, the Assistant Chief Security Officer of Eke Security Neighbourhood Vigilante Watch, mustered the strength to recount the events to journalists which will aid in further investigation into the matter.
According to Mr. Emeka Anigbo’s testimony, they were gathered at the 9th Mile Corner on Thursday night to celebrate and show support for their fellow colleagues who were being officially inducted as neighborhood watch members.
Mr. Emeka Anigbo revealed that their gathering was abruptly interrupted when they received a distress call notifying them that armed robbers had shut off the main road connecting the well-known Catholic Church Prayer Center (Ugwudinso) and Eke, from Ama breweries.
Upon receiving the distress call, Mr. Emeka Anigbo shared that they immediately abandoned the food and beverages they were about to enjoy and quickly moved on their mission to confront the criminal elements.
However, he explained that they encountered huge traffic congestion caused by the road blockade, preventing them from reaching the scene in their vehicle. The challenging circumstances hindered their swift response.
‘We decided to park our vehicle along the road, and started moving towards the place; while approaching the scene, we figured three armed soldiers who ordered us in a loud voice to stop.’
‘We obeyed the soldiers and stopped, telling them that we were neighborhood watch members. At that point, they then asked us to keep coming.’
‘On approaching where the soldiers were standing, they started firing at us, killing one of our members and the wife of one of those who were inaugurated at 9th Mile. She was on a motorcycle with her husband going back to Eke.’
‘Despite the fact that we were in our full security uniform and had identified ourselves, the trigger happy soldiers opened fire on us at a very close range, killing the late Oke, and the woman.’
‘After shooting me severally, while I was on the ground, one of the soldiers still, notwithstanding seeing my ID card and my uniform, went ahead to shoot me again on the shoulder,’ Anigbo revealed in tears.
Anigbo added, ‘the same soldier kept on matching me on the chest, saying, I will kill you today.’
‘In fact, it was the timely arrival of police operatives from the 9th Mile corner that saved my life. It was the police that stopped the soldier, confirming that we are Eke neighborhood security guards.’
Chinedu Okolo, who suffered severe injuries to his manhood from the soldiers’ bullets, was in such agony that he could not speak to journalists seeking an interview. The excruciating pain left him without words while under Oxygen support at the intensive care unit (ICU).
Several residents from the Eke community, who preferred to remain anonymous, strongly criticized the soldiers’ behavior, denouncing it as barbaric and heartless.
Upon being contacted, Lieutenant Colonel Jonah Unuakhalu, the Deputy Director of Army Public Relations in the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, refuted the accounts provided by the victims, deeming them false and inaccurate.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Jonah Unuakhalu, based on the information available to the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, the woman who lost her life was allegedly killed by a stray bullet fired during a confrontation between armed hoodlums and the soldiers, rather than directly by the soldiers themselves.
Lieutenant Colonel Jonah Unuakhalu stated that upon receiving a distress call regarding criminal activities along the Eke road, the troops promptly responded and swiftly arrived at the scene.
Additionally, Lieutenant Colonel Jonah Unuakhalu mentioned that upon spoting the soldiers, the armed hoodlums initiated gunfire, but the security forces quelled them. As a result, one of the criminals was apprehended, and the soldiers managed to recover two pump-action guns and a quantity of live ammunition. Some of the assailants, however, managed to escape by fleeing into a nearby forested area.
The spokesperson for the 82 Division, who claimed to have no information about the second deceased individual, further explained that during the exchange of gunfire between the troops and the hoodlums, a bullet struck the housewife who was rushed to the hospital. Regrettably, despite medical efforts, she later succumbed to her injuries and passed away.
‘So, there is no iota of truth in the information being peddled around that it was soldiers that killed the deceased.’
‘Our men only rushed to the scene to salvage the situation, after receiving a distress call.’
‘It’s unfortunate that the woman died, if not, she would have been in the best position to narrate exactly what happened” stressing that the Division is going to carry out proper investigation on the incident, so as to unravel what actually transpired,’ he added.
Nonetheless, a resident from the community, who prefers to remain anonymous, urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to establish a panel to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the tragic incident.
He suggested that the bullet casings retrieved from the scene should undergo a thorough forensic examination to ascertain their source.