By Paully Onah Onitsha 

15 persons have been feared killed by gunmen who invaded Omor Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State, in the early hours of Monday, 6th February 2023.

An unidentified woman is among the casualties, while six other young men were abducted and taken to a deadly shrine in Anaku Community called Ekwensu Anaku, sources said.

When our Correspondent visited the troubled town on Monday evening, it was discovered that the area was deserted, as residents fled in droves for fear of further attacks.

A Community leader, Hon. Peter Emeka, told our Correspondent that the attackers, fingered youths from the neighbouring Anaku Village in the same Council Area.

He alleged that the hoodlums were said to have arrived in several motorcycles, and shot sporadically and directly aiming at people on sight.

He identified the hostages as Chibuko Anekwe, Johnson Chigbata, Esther Nwankwo, Iloabuchi Okonkwo, Chinedu Ogwuejiifor, Chibueze Okoye, adding that their bodies were deposited in two separate mortuaries.

Emeka also alleged that one Nnamdi Maneke aka Vulture, “a dreaded bandit” from Anaku Community, with his gang members, masterminded the attack.

According to him, “Nnamdi Maneke is a notorious criminal in Anaku Community. He has been terrorizing Communities in Ayamelum; especially Omor.

“When he arrived on Monday,with his gang members, many people in our community identified him; because, he is notorious in unleashing mayhem on people; including setting people’s houses on fire whenever he is provoked. He (robbery suspect) brandishes AK47 at will”.

When our Correspondent was led to the mortuaries, it was discovered that five bodies were deposited in Nigro Mortuary, Omor, while 3 bodies were deposited in St. Mary’s Hospital mortuary, Ifite-Ogwari, also in Ayamelum LGA.

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The traditional ruler of Omor, His Royal Majesty, Igwe Oranu Chidume, said the attack came as a surprise to him, as he just had peace meeting with leaders of Anaku;  town that has been having issues with his community for a long time.

“I can recall that we have held a couple of peace meetings, and my people are very keen in seeing that peace reigns between us and our neighbours. In the most recent meeting were the leader of Anaku Community, Mr Anthony Ifeanya, who is the current Commissioner for Petroleum Resources in Anambra State Chief Livinus Onyenwe, who is the Transition Committee Chairman of Ayamelum; as well as Rt. Hon. Uche Okafor, who is the Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly, and member representing Ayamelum Constituency.

“The purpose of the meeting was to ensure that there was lasting peace between Omor and Anaku. The meeting was fruitful, and we agreed to work together and do all that we can to ensure that there is peace; and that is why Monday invasion came as a surprise to me”.

The monarch called on Governor Charles Soludo, as well as the state’s Commissioner of Police, CP Echeng Echeng; to act fast and bring the culprits to justice. He noted that if something is not done fast, the situation may degenerate.

He also called on the Ayamelum Leaders of Thought, who he said, have been on the matter for long, to rise up to the occasion because of the need to find lasting solution to the menace.

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“Everybody knows that this is not the first of such incidents that Omor people are suffering in the hands of Anaku youths. Many of this have happened in the past without any repercussions on the perpetrators, and it has happened yet again.  We are, therefore, calling on the government of Anambra state to act swiftly and decisively.”

The leader of Anaku Community, Mr Tony Ifeanya, he also confirmed the development to our Correspondent; but clarified that the perpetrators were not sent by Anaku people.

Ifeanya, who acknowledged that a young man from Anaku Community, by the nickname “Vulture”, has been terrorizing the area, unleashing mayhem on people together with his gang members.

He revealed that the young man was acting on whatever reason known to him; but not on the instance of Anaku town.

He said, “Anaku Community  is also looking for him everywhere to arrest him. Whenever we get hold of him, we’ll hand him over to government for necessary action. Our community, and Ayamelum people are already tired of him.”

Commenting on the incident, the Transition Committee Chairman of Ayamelum LGA, Chief Livinus Onyenwe, confirmed the attack.

According to him, “A terrorist leader from Anaku attacked Omor people. We call it terrorist attack because, the young man in question has been going about terrorizing people. He went to Omor town and killed people numbering 8 or more; because, there are others in the hospital, whose survival are unsure.

“We made necessary calls, and joint team of police and army went there, but were unable to subdue him. We are looking up to the joint team to get him down; but on the event where they cannot do so within a reasonable time, we shall devise alternative means to get him”.

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The Anambra State Police Command has also confirmed the attack in a statement dated 7/2/2023, and signed by the Command’s Public Relations officer, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu.

Ikenga said that the police Command is intensifying manhunt for Mr Nnamdi Maduneke and cohorts.

He said that joint task force team, comprising police and military have been deployed in the area, and that the presence of these security forces has reinforced the security of life and properties adding that peace is gradually returning in the war-torn Communities.

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