ENUGU / ABAKALIKI – Unknown gunmen on Saturday morning shot dead two police personnel at Agbani in Nkanu West local government of Enugu State.
The incident happened less than 24 hours after a former Commissioner for Rural Development in Enugu State, Hon. Gab Onuzulike, and his brother, Elvis Onuzulike, were killed at Nkpokolo, Achi, in Orji River LGA of the state.
It was learnt that the policemen were killed at a roundabout close to Agbani’s main market.
An eyewitness account said the location where the incident occurred was close to the Agbani Divisional Police Station.
He said the gunmen started shooting sporadically immediately as they approached the policemen who were on a stop-and-search duty.
He said the attack caused pandemonium in the area as people ran for safety.
In a video circulating online, people were seen weeping at the spot where the lifeless bodies of the policemen lay.
Reacting to the killing of the former commissioner, the Police Public Relations Officer of the state command in a statement made available to journalists in Enugu on Saturday, said: “Pending the receipt of a detailed report, kindly be informed that preliminary report reveals that two of the assailants, said to have infiltrated into Oji-River from neighbouring Anambra State community, in the evening hours of 18/11/2022, attacked and murdered one Gabriel Onuzulike (identified as former Chairman of Oji-River LGA and Commissioner in Enugu State government) and his brother at Nkpokolo-Achi in Oji-River LGA, was neutralised by a Joint Police/ Army Team, who swiftly responded to a distress call on the incident and intercepted the hoodlums at Inyi community of the same LGA, as they were escaping into Anambra State.
“The team further recovered one AK-47 rifle and one pistol with several live ammunition, while the Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep belonging to the deceased victims, a Toyota Camry car the assailants attempted to snatch from another victim and a RAV4 Jeep they used for the heinous criminal operation, two mobile phones, among other incriminating items.
“Meanwhile, the manhunt for the assailants, many of whom escaped into the nearby forest with severe degrees of gunshot wounds in the ensuing gun duel, as a result of the superior firepower of the Joint Team, is still ongoing. Further development will be communicated, please.”
Also, unknown gunmen killed the former Commissioner for Rural Development in Enugu State, Hon. Gab Onuzulike.
It was gathered that the former commissioner was shot dead on Friday night alongside his elder brother, Elvis Onuzulike.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that Gab, who was also a former Chairman of Oji River Local Government Area, was killed at Nkpokolo-Achi while returning from a burial ceremony.
He said the development had thrown residents of Oji River and its environs into tension.
According to him, a team of security men gave the gunmen a hot chase, killed one of them and arrested another member of the gang.
A video circulating online showed the blood-soaked bodies of the victims, with residents wailing.
Meanwhile, our correspondent reported that two operatives of the Ebubeagu Security outfit were also feared killed by gunmen who attacked their checkpoint in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, Friday night.
The incident, it was gathered, occurred at a checkpoint located at the popular Ebebe Junction.
The incident, which also led to many residents of the area sustaining injuries while scampering for safety, has generated fears among the citizenry.
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chris Anyanwu, confirmed the development.
An eyewitness who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity said: “It was last night, around 9.30 p.m. I passed through that place and a full complement of Ebubeagu operatives cordoned the location.
“The victims were taken to the Alex Ekueweme Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki 2, and before they could get there, two of the victims died while others with bullet injuries were treated.
“Everybody around the location of the incident went inside their houses for fear of becoming victims.”
“The bodies of the operatives who fell to the gunmen’s bullets have been deposited at the mortuary of the AE-FUTHA.”
Another sympathizer of the victims wrote: “At about 7 pm yesterday, the 18th day of November 2022, some hoodlums numbering about eight, riding on motorbikes and bearing AK-47 rifles, attacked a checkpoint of Ebubeagu operatives at Ebebe Junction, in Abakaliki, shot and killed two operatives.
“Igwe Emmanuel from Ohaozara LGA and Udu Samuel Elekwa from Afikpo South LGA Ebonyi State. Both men were very jolly good fellows, full of life and hope.
“Udu Samuel Elekwa is married with three children and a young wife. Igwe Emmanuel is the beloved child of his parents. They died doing the job they were employed to do – keeping the peace.
“The opposition will not spread this message because it’s not about disparaging the state government.
“People’s children, brothers, fathers and loved ones were shot and killed and the people that always carry Ebubeagu matter on their heads are mute.”
The Ebonyi State government has condemned the killing of the security operatives, describing it as gruesome.
The Special Security Consultant to the State Government, Chief Stanley Okoro-Emegha, stated this on Saturday, adding that an exhaustive investigation had commenced into the matter intending to fish out the perpetrators.
He said: “This is quite unfortunate, unwarranted and unacceptable. We have commenced a thorough investigation and there is reliable information that the heinous crime was committed by the unknown gunmen and opposition political party in the state.
“The information on our desk may still be sketchy but we are assuring the deceased, their families and the general public of a detailed investigation to make the perpetrators of this inglorious act face the full weight of the law. For the umpteenth time, anyone behind this dastardly act must pay in full.
“It is regrettable that we are losing these able-bodied men who are sacrificing so much to ensure that the efforts of our Governor, Chief David Nweze Umahi in promoting peace do not hit the brick wall. You know when men of Ebubeagu are killed, the opposition with her cronies keep sealed lips as if these men are not brothers or humans.
“As we sincerely commiserate with the families and loved ones of these young men killed in cold blood, we are also praying for the peaceful repose of their souls.”