•Police avert another bloody clash at Upper Iweka
From EMMANUEL UZOR, Onitsha
Two persons were confirmed dead yesterday when hoodlums suspected to be militants attacked a Naval outpost located at the outskirt of the commercial city of Onitsha . This was just as police averted what could have been another bloody clash at the Upper Iweka axis of the city The Onitsha Area Commander, Mr. Benjamin Wordu who led combined team of Army and police to the Onitsha-Owerri Road, Upper Iweka restored normalcy to the troubled areas.
Daily Sun gathered that the incident occurred at the Onitsha Naval outpost, Atani, Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State when hoodlums attacked the Naval officers on routine check following a distress call from the policemen from Zone 9, Umuahia that a suspect was fleeing arrest.
According to a source, policemen from Zone 9, Umuahia had stormed the Atani community in trail of a suspect simply called Mmeso in connection to various crimes when the suspect resisted arrest through the help of his men and was about to escape when they raised the alarm.
“Police from Zone 9 stormed this area at about 5 am and cordoned off the area in search of one suspect called Mmeso who resisted arrest through the help of his gang and was driving towards Naval checkpoint when the policemen raised the alarm and when the Naval officers got the information, they saw a vehicle, a Gulf car coming and they stopped him, it was at that point that the policemen arrived and identified that he was the suspect they came to arrest, they presented warrant of arrest to him and effected the arrest.
“However, unknown to the Naval officers, the hoodlums went and regrouped and came out in full force to attack the Naval outpost and started pulling down the Naval checkpoints.
They also attacked the personnel during which the officers resisted their advance and two persons were shot among them while seven others were arrested.” Speaking on the incident, the Commanding Officer, Onitsha Naval Outpost, Navy Captain A. Amed said the hoodlums had been terrorizing the residents of the area through illegal abduction of residents and other criminal activities. He further said his men overpowered the militants who he said were advancing towards the base with a view to disarming them and take over the base when they were overpowered and in the process arrested some of them while others fled to nearby bush around the area.
Amed further reiterated the readiness of the Navy to sanitize the entire area by making sure that the hoodlums were sacked from the entire commercial city of Onitsha especially during and after Christmas periods and called on Atani residents to volunteer information that could lead to the various camps of the hoodlums.
Items recovered from the suspects militants included cutlasses and other dangerous weapons, charms and two bags containing substances suspected to be Indian hemp and cocaine while those arrested have been transferred to the State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID), Awka for further investigations.
When contacted, the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ralph Uzoigwe, confirmed the incidents and said investigations were ongoing to unravel the motive of the attack on Naval outpost and to arrest the fleeing members of the militants. In a related development, policemen attached to the Onitsha Area Command averted what could have been another bloody clash at the Upper Iweka axis of the commercial city of Onitsha when two factional groups of revenue collectors clashed.