Scores Of Passengers Abducted, As Suspected Herdsmen Block Enugu-P/H Highway, Set Ablaze Military Van
Not fewer than 30 heavily armed men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, last weekend, abducted the entire occupants of three buses.
The gunmen, as gathered blocked the Enugu-Port Harcourt highway between Leru junction and Ihube axis, had reportedly abducted scores of passengers
The bandits said to be heavily armed were said to have attacked a team of soldiers drafted to the scene following a distress call.
The bandits allegedly set the military van on fire and wounded two soldiers before smuggling all occupants of three buses they abducted into the bush.
According to a youth leader in Umunneochi, who spoke with newsmen, yesterday, the situation has spurred anxiety among the people in the area.
He said the bandits took advantage of the evening rain on Saturday to block the highway, causing gridlock that stretched to Leru junction as commuters mistook them for policemen on the roadblock.
According to him, some of the commuters who had alighted to verify the cause of the gridlock took to their heels when the bandits opened fire on a military van that came to save the situation.
He said some people sustained bullet wounds as motorists abandoned their vehicles and scampered for safety.
It is no longer news that the spate of kidnapping incidents which has gone beyond what one’s mind could fathom, has thrown the people into a a state of dilemma and utter fear. This intensified following the frightening abduction of the Prelate of Methodist Church, Dr Samuel Uche, and two clerics on his entourage.
Reacting to the situation, the Commissioner for Information, Abia State, Eze Chikamnayo, who also doubles as the Secretary of Umunneochi Security Committee, recently inaugurated by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to tackle the menacing security challenges in the area, confirmed the ugly incident.
He, however, said the incident took place at Imo State side of the expressway, and pleaded for more time to be able to give accurate information on the casualty figure.
His words: ”It happened at the expressway between Ihube and Umunneochi. In Umunneochi proper, there has been a mass reduction in the number of such incidents but they have migrated to the border between Umunneochi and Imo State.
“But Umunneochi Security Committee worked very hard. We are putting checkpoints and we have strengthened our vigilante, and have potentially repelled them.
“I think it’s a sign of victory for us that they have left Umunneochi LGA and migrated further towards the express. They are at the boundary between Abia and Imo, precisely at Ihube.
Efforts to get a response from the Army were unsuccessful as the Army Public Relations Officer, 14 Brigade Ohafia, Lt. Innocent Omale, said he was in a conference.
However, all efforts to reach Abia State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Geoffrey Ogbonna failed although the Zonal PPRO in charge of Zone 9, Israel Jack Rabin, said the zone was oblivious of the incident.