By Moses Akaigwe
Heavily–armed gunmen on Friday night, invaded Abagana community in Anambra State, and with suspected explosive devices, bombed Njikoka Divisional Police Headquarters in the town, and killed four residents.
Three of the victims have been identified as members of the Abagana Vigilante Group whose office is next to the police station, while the third was a commercial tricycle (Keke) operator.
Sources from the town disclosed that the gunmen, said to be no fewer than 30, commenced the attack with sustained gunfire “in a Gestapo style” at about 10.30 pm when most residents in the usually bustling town had gone to sleep.
An eyewitness said the attackers must have used petrol bomb or dynamite to attack the police station, because the fire started after a heavy blast.
One of the sources who lives close to the terrorised area recalled “it was like during the civil war. They engaged in wanton destruction of lives and properties, and gunshots were heard from all over the town even though the major incident took place around Ezi Nobert/Njikoka Local Govt. secretariat part of the town.”
Confirming the incident which he described as very tragic, the President-General of Abagana Welfare Union (AWU) Worldwide, Engr. Ben Okongwu, disclosed that both “the only police station in the town” and the nearby vigilante group’s base, were burnt by the attackers.
Okongwu said in a statement: “Reports confirmed that in the course of the shooting spree, a very loud explosive sound, like that of a bomb, was heard and it was suspected to be the sound of dynamite that set the police station ablaze.
“Preliminary reports have it that at the end of the invasion, four men were confirmed dead; three of them were members of Abagana Vigilante Group, while one was a Keke driver.
“The only police station in the town was also burnt down, while the community’s vigilante office block was also torched.
“The three vigilante operatives died while trying gallantly to protect their community from the menace of the marauders.”
The AWU boss appealed to Governor Chukwuma Soludo, and the security agencies to ensure improved protection for Abagana people, in order to forestall a reoccurrence, especially now that the community “seems to be highly vulnerable.”
He assured that the leadership of AWU is looking forward to getting more comprehensive report on the attack from the director in charge of the vigilante operations in the town.
“On behalf of my executive members and indeed the good people of Abagana, I express my heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims of this dastardly act, and pray to God to give them the fortitude to bear this huge and irreplaceable loss,” Okongwu said.