Gunmen enforcing an illegal sit-at-home order in Onitsha, the commercial nerve centre of Anambra State, yesterday, burnt a bus and a tricycle in the area.
A trending video of the incident showed the vehicles on fire. In the video, some gunshots were also heard.
A message was circulated on social media last weekend, stating that there would be a four-day sit-at-home exercise in the South East, beginning from Monday, May 8 to Thursday, May 11. No reason was given by those who circulated it.
The residents of the commercial city, it was gathered, got panicky when the news of the incidents spread. A source revealed that the enforcers were heading towards Abagana in Njikoka Local Government Area, through the old road.
Spokesperson of the Anambra State Police Command, Tochukwu Ikenga, who confirmed the ugly development, however, said the sit-at-home order enforcers had been dispersed by the police operatives.
“Police responded swiftly, which made the criminals escape the scene. The hoodlums, in an attempt to scare the residents from coming out to embark on their daily activities, stopped and set on fire commercial vehicles and tricycles plying the road.
The residents courageously resisted the assailants and the fire was put off by the police operatives and some people in the area. Meanwhile, calm has returned to the area and the situation is under control and monitored,” he said.
In a related development, police operatives dispersed similar elements enforcing the order in Ihiala, Ihiala LGA of the state. The hoodlums had reportedly attacked a commercial bank in the area, injuring a security guard. The police spokesperson, in another statement, said the police acted jointly with the military to disperse the hoodlums, at about 12:30pm, on Tuesday.
“The outlawed group members armed with guns and other dangerous weapons came out in their numbers on a motorbike and started shooting sporadically, in an attempt to rob a bank and to disrupt commercial activities and vehicular movements going on in Ihiala.
“The joint operatives responded swiftly, which made the armed men abandon their evil plan and took to their heels. Unfortunately, due to the indiscriminate shootings by the armed group, a stray bullet hit the chief security officer (CSO) of the bank on the leg and he has been taken to the hospital, where he is currently receiving treatment. No life was lost.
Meanwhile, calm has returned in the area, as police with other security forces have intensified patrols and improved security dominance and surveillance in the state,” the statement partly reads.