THERE was pandemonium at the Igbariam campus of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Monday as students and residents ran to safety following the alleged killing of nine persons and about 23 cows by unknown gunmen. Although the chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Alhaji Gidado Sidikki claimed that 19 persons were killed, the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Ikenga Tochukwu confirmed that nine persons lost their lives.
The incident, which took place at an area known as Modiyam Umaru camp in Awkuzu, Oyi local government area of the state, is a stone throw to many hostels housing students of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University. Following the development, tension has heightened in the entire Awkuzu and Igbariam communities, with many students and other residents already packing out of the area for fear of being caught in the web of the seeming battle.
Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Monday Kuryas, who asked the people to remain calm, has already deployed a large number of policemen to the area, even as he assured that the state police command would get to the root of the matter. In a statement, the PPRO said investigations had commenced to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident. He said: “The Commissioner has ordered the immediate deployment of the command’s operational and intelligence assets to identify and apprehend the unknown armed men, who violently attacked Ukpomachi Village, Awkuzu in Oyi LGA of the state in the early hours of 26th, April 2021.
“Meanwhile, a crack team of police operatives of the command led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, had visited the scene and conducted on- the- spot-assessment of the incident In the meantime, the command has successfully restored normalcy in the area.” According to Tochukwu, “the assailants were armed with machetes and other dangerous weapons, when they invaded the village in their numbers and attacked the residents, adding that the attack resulted in the death of nine persons (whose identities are yet unknown), injured some others and destroyed buildings and livestock.
Speaking on the incident, the Miyetti Allah chairman, Sidikki, said the gunmen shot repeatedly, which, according to him, scared students of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, who ran away for fear of being harmed He said that the residents were taken unawares, recalling that they have been living in peace with their host communities since they found a base in the South East.