By CYNTHIA CHIDINMA IGBOKWE
Twelve souls were lost in Anambra state within 48 hours including four Naval officers, four policemen, two Correctional officials and two beheaded by cultists at Okija community, Ihiala local government area of Anambra state yesterday.
There were other unconfirmed deaths as the hoodlums killing security agents were said to have killed the owner of a Pathfinder and some people in a public transport who ran into them during the operation.
The two persons beheaded at different locations in Okija community, it was gathered that the victims’ heads were taken away by their assailants.
One of incidents reportedly took place in a compound owned by a former traditional ruler of the area.
This is shortly after unknown gunmen reportedly killed four naval men and three policemen in different locations in Anambra State.
Though, the state police command said it lost only one cop.
The security agents were ambushed and murdered in cold blood, whereas the policemen were killed at Okacha Junction, Neni, in the Anaocha Local Government Area of the state, and their patrol vehicle set ablaze, the four naval men were reportedly killed at Awkuzu, in the Oyi LGA of the state.
On the beheading of two by cultists, the president-general of Okija community, Chukwudum Ndedigwe, confirmed the incident, saying the compound where the incident happened belonged to their late monarch, Igwe Ubakanonu.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Ikenga Tochukwu, said the incident was a cult war between two rival cult groups in the area.
He said, “It is an incident that involved two rival cult groups in Okija. Arrest has been made and police operatives are on track to apprehend the rest that are at large.”
The PPRO added, “The Commissioner of Police, Monday Kuryas, has called for calm and also asked parents to pay closer attention to their wards’ activities.”
Shortly after gunmen attacked a police checkpoint at Neni , and Awkuzu, killing 7 , another gunmen attacked Ekwulobia police station in the state, killing another policeman and two officials of Nigeria Correctional Service, NCS.
The police station was attacked at about 4:30am, while the two officials of NCS were killed at about 11am after the gunmen attacked a prison vehicle conveying some inmates to court. The gunmen shot sporadically in the air for about 30 minutes and later made attempts to set the Ekwulobia police station ablaze.
Two NCS officials, a man and a woman were killed, according to an eye witness: “There was another attack on the same police station Ekwulobia around 11am. The attack was on a prison bus that was going to the police station.
“Two people were killed in the bus and it appeared the attackers were following the bus. So as the bus reached the police station, the gunmen opened fire on them, killing one woman and a man wearing prison uniforms.
“The gunmen shattered all the glasses on the bus. Those who were present when the incident happened said the attackers took away the suspects being conveyed to court and drove off.
“So, it was a double attack within six hours. People residing in Ekwulobia are now living in fear.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Ikenga Toochukwu, confirmed the Ekwulobia attack, saying that efforts by the hoodlums to burn down the recently rebuilt police station were repelled by the policemen on ground.
The PPRO said it was not clear if there was any casualty, adding that the command was yet to get a very clear picture of what actually transpired.
The Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Correctional Service in the state, Mr. Francis Ekezie also confirmed that officials conveying crime suspects to court were attacked.
He said the command was still trying to get the full information on what actually happened.
“There was an attack on our men who were going to the court, but the information is still sketchy”, he said.
Before the Ekwulobia attack, gunmen on Thursday reportedly killed four naval men and three policemen in different locations Neni and Awkuzu in Anambra State.
According to a source, “The gunmen rampaged Awkuzu Junction and killed the naval officers on duty and carted away their firearms. The four naval men were on duty at the junction when the hoodlums attacked them around 2pm.
“A similar thing happened moments ago at Neni, just before Oraukwu. Police officers were killed and their weapons were taken from them. Their vehicle was also set ablaze.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, confirmed the attack on the policemen, but said only one person died.
He said, “The hoodlums, numbering over 20 in three Sienna vehicles and motorcycles, engaged the policemen in a gun duel, which lasted for over 30 minutes before reinforcements from the state headquarters forced the hoodlums to escape.
“As a result, two police operatives sustained gunshot injuries and were rushed to a hospital for medical attention, where one was confirmed dead.”
Naval authorities could not be reached for comment as of the time of filing this report.