Five of the unknown gunmen terrorising parts of Anambra State were on Friday neutralised when the criminals reportedly clashed with the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Ihiala.
A trending video showed a Hilux van carrying some bodies out of the town. The van was in a convoy of some other vehicles, and the people hailed them as they passed.
An eyewitness said that people hailed the IPOB operatives for flushing out the criminals terrorising them.
The eyewitness said: “It is true. The incident happened at Akwa village in Ihiala during a clash between IPOB and unknown gunmen.
“The gunmen have a camp at a place called Oseakwa from where they have been terrorizing Ihiala, Okija, Uli and other neighbouring communities.
“For some time, the gunmen have been disrupting burials and demanding to be settled before any ceremony is organized. They are also the group that has been kidnapping people and snatching cars.
“On June 17, IPOB swooped on the gunmen in their camp and five people were killed during the shootout. IPOB operatives loaded the corpses in a Hilux van and paraded them around the villages.”
The same Friday, some people suspected to be members of the Ebubeagu security outfit clashed with another set of gunmen during a burial ceremony in the same Ihiala. However, no lives were lost.
According to the eyewitness, following the clash, the burial had to be cancelled and the corpse returned to the mortuary.
He said: “It was terrible. What happened was that one Ekene who is a businessman in Ihiala was burying his late brother and his in-laws from Imo State came with members of Ebubeagu to protect them, only to be confronted by people who said they are unknown gunmen in charge of Ihiala.
“The argument of the gunmen was that Ebubeagu people ought not to enter Anambra State when there are the people controlling the area.
“The incident happened at the village called Umuojimaka in Akwa and when the shooting became so much, the family took back the corpse to the mortuary. No new date has been fixed for the burial.”
Recently in the same Ihiala, some hoodlums set ablaze a mansion close to Aforigwe Market in Ubahuekwem village for allegedly inviting the police after the man had paid the gunmen to provide security for him during a ceremony in his compound.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Toochukwu Ikenga, in a statement, said that it was a clash between two armed groups.
Ikenga said: “The Anambra State Police Command has reinforced Ihiala and its environs following a trending video of SUVs and Hilux vehicles carrying young men that are welding arms to a yet unidentified location.
“Information from eyewitness account shows that violent clash ensued between two criminal gang and further details confirmed the killing of one Innocent Obieke aka Double Lion and three others.
“Double Lion has been on the police wanted list and has featured in attacks on police formations, military locations and other government infrastructure.
“Meanwhile, police have intensified patrol. It is ongoing and the situation is being monitored”, the PPRO said in the statement.