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Communities Shielding Gunmen In Anambra — Police

The Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Echeng Echeng, has alledged that communities in Anambra State are shielding the people suspected to be gunmen and their barbaric activities in their various areas.

He said the gunmen are waxing more stronger in Anambra and the entire South East region to destroy, kidnap and kill in the rural areas because leaders in the affected communities are afraid to make available the identities of this killers living with them to the security authorities.

The CP disclosed this while addressing journalists at the state Police Headquarters Amawobia, on Monday, in reaction to the gruesome murder of the Anambra lawmaker, late Honourable Okechukwu Okoye, who was kidnapped and killed alongside his aide, late Cyril Chiegboka on May 15, 2022, in Aguata local government area of the state.

He also raised the alarm over targeted attacks on non-indigenes resident in Anambra State by the gunmen.

He urged the traditional rulers, president generals, youth leaders, women leaders and market leaders in all the 181 communities to support the police and other law enforcement agencies with relevant information regarding the activities of the gunmen if the act must stop.

He cited the lack of timely information to the police as one of the factors responsible for the escalation of the situation in the state.

On whether a ransom was paid for the release of the slain lawmaker, the commissioner said: “I am not aware whether a ransom was paid for the lawmaker release before he was beheaded.”

He added that: “The major challenge police is having in the fight against the gunmen in Anambra State is that residents especially community leaders in the affected areas are not giving information about the identities of this killer men to us. And the state Vigilante are not also helping matters because they are compromise in their responsibilities.

“The narrative that the gunmen are Fulanis herders ‘is not true’. The people operating as gunmen are Igbos.

“We are taking the fight to the gunmen’s hideout. We are going to confront them. We will make the state uncomfortable for them and other criminal elements. And before the end of this week, there will be a possible breakthrough.

“I will also like to seize this opportunity to condemn in the strongest terms possible the mindless attacks on non-indigenes resident in the state. I call on all leaders of thought to do all within their power to put an end to these targeted killings in the larger interests of their people and the nation as a whole.

“I am assuring the good people of Anambra that the police on its part will do everything allowed by law to bring perpetrators of these killings to justice.”

While commiserating with the family and kinsmen of the lawmaker, the State House of Assembly and the governor of the state, Chukwuma Soludo, on the tragic incident, the CP said the headless body has been recovered for preservation and autopsy.

The Command aslo described the Killing and beheading of Dr Okechukwu Okoye, a lawmaker representing Aguata 2 constituency by yet-to-be-identified assailants as cowards and enemies of State.

Okoye and Mr Cyril Chiegboka were abducted on May 15 and were both murdered with their heads severed from their bodies.

He said the abductors did not make any demand for ransom for their release before they were murdered in cold blood.

The CP said the Command would work with sister agencies in Anambra to ensure that the masterminds and foot soldiers responsible for the heinous crime against the society are speedily brought to justice.

“Anambra State Police Command condemns this barbaric act by savages pretending to be fighting on behalf of the people.

“Indeed the Police, other security agencies and defenseless civilians have been at the receiving end of similar gruesome attacks in the past by these enemies of society and progress.

“The Nigeria Police Force, Anambra State Command, stands solidly with His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Government and people of Anambra State in this moment of grief and at all times.

“No stone will be left unturned until purveyors of violence are totally eradicated to make Anambra State safe for growth and development.

According to Echeng, the Police will do everything allowed by law to bring perpetrators of these killings to justice.

“We are taking the fight to them, unknown gunmen are not spirits, people see them, we need information about them because we want to reclaim the entire space,” he said.

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