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Kidnappers overwhelm three Enugu communities

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…Traditional ruler, residents trade accusations, blame Ugwuanyi
…B’Haram commanders, foot soldiers die in Borno

THERE is palpable tension in three communities abutting intersections of the Ninth Mile Corner-Eke-Oghe-Aguobu-Owa Road in Ezeagu Local Government Area, Enugu State, currently living at the mercy of kidnappers who raid the towns on daily basis and abduct just anyone in sight, particularly those identified as well-to-do.

  The three communities are Aguobu Owa, Oghe and Iwollo. But their neighbours in nearby Imezi-Owa, Omughu Umana, Obunofia Ndiuno and Obinofia Ndiagu towns are not spared either. Investigation shows that residents of the besieged communities now shuttle between their homes and forests to avoid falling victims to bandits kidnapping them and demanding hefty amounts in ransoms while corpses of those that fail to meet their ransoms in time are found by roadsides.

  Ugwu Onyeama axis along Eke and Akama Oghe Road and the spur abutting Aguobu Owa and Akama around Oghe-Iwollo Road, as well as a notorious hill along Umana Ndiagu and Umana Ndiuno intersection of Enugu-Onitsha Expressway are worst danger zones where these hoodlums target motorists, traders going to markets and farmers at different times of day and night, particularly between 8.00pm and 5.00 am.

  Residents say their abductors always ambush on-coming vehicles or block the spot with heavy logs of wood, at bends where reversing may be difficult or impossible, during which they attack and abduct their victims who would be marched into bush beyond Ajalli River with women and girls among their victims being raped and men seriously tortured before they are made to start asking their relatives to bring the amount put on their heads.

  According to a native of Aguobu-Owa, who only gave his alias as Igbojaa, who said he was just released on Sunday when the N150,000 ransom on his head was brought by his wife, after three days of staying hostage in bush with those that kidnapped him, anyone who fails to pay their the kidnappers would be killed and dumped by roadside.

  Although no group had claimed responsibility of these daytime and nocturnal abductions, residents and their traditional rulers are locked up in recriminations. While the traditional ruler accuse his subjects of opening their ‘backyards’ to Independent Peoples of Biafra elements who quickly turned into kidnappers, his subjects blame him for hobnobbing with Fulani cattle rearers who he ‘habours’ in  their forests as his tenants before they resorted to kidnapping and other militia activities.

  Members of the community also accuse Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of turning deaf ear to their plight despite repeated appeals for his intervention by providing adequate security in not only the community but also entire Ezeagu Local Government Area.

  In related development, 47 insurgents terrorising parts of Borno State in Bama Local Government Area and beyond under the aegis of Boko Haram fighters died during gun battle with troops of Operation Hadin Kai being launched by 21 Army Armoured Brigade, Bama in conjunction with Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), yesterday.

  While three were identified as commanders, 44 were foot soldiers who fell to the superior fire power of Joint Task Force.

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