Many members of the Labour Party, LP, in Ebonyi State have reportedly been injured following alleged attack on the party’s loyalists at a rally by gunmen in Okposi, Ohaozara Local Government Area, LGA, of Ebonyi State.
The gunmen, LP alleged, were members of Ebonyi Command of the Southeast Security Outfit code-named Ebubeagu.
The gunmen, according to the LP House of Assembly candidate for Ohaozara East Constituency, David Ogbonna, shot at the party faithful and inflicted varying degrees of injuries on them.
He alleged that they were led by the Chairman of Ohaozara LGA, Consider Ajah.
Among others, Mr Ogbonna in a statement said “Yesterday (Saturday), as party faithful gathered at our (Labour Party) office at Mgbom-Okposi, waiting for the arrival of the Labour Party Candidate for Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo federal constituency – Nkemkanma Kama, the men of Ebubeagu Security Network led by Ohaozara Local Government Chairman invaded the venue.
“As they entered the venue, our campaign office, our supporters on the road waiting for our arrival erroneously thought we were the ones possibly because of the exotic car of the Local Government Chairman.
“They rushed to warmly welcome ‘us’ only to meet young men numbering over 40 wielding all kinds of automatic guns who came down from the fully loaded Toyota Hiace Bus and Sienna buses and opened fire on Innocent people. They shot at the people and chased both men and women at the venue, making efforts to apprehend as many as they could.”
Mr Ogbonna said three persons have so far been confirmed shot on their legs; one had his femur (bone of the thigh) shattered and had been taken to an Orthopedic Centre.
According to him, “As at this morning of 13th November 2022 (yesterday), three of our supporters from Uburu who came with Labour Party Candidate of Ohaozara West are yet to reach home and their phones have not been reached. We are yet to establish a contact with the Personal Assistant, PA, of Labour Party Candidate for Ohaozara East Constituency. His phone has not been reached since he ran away from the event venue on Saturday.
“Two of our supporters from Ugwulangwu are yet to reach home and their phones not reachable. Six women supporters from Ugwulangwu and one of our women leaders from Okposi who ran for their lives yesterday in the process lost their handbags containing phones and other valuables including cash.
“One of women supporters from Okposi who was pursued, fell head-down on her way to safety and has remained unconscious. However, Doctor confirmed she’s still alive.”
Mr Ogbomna also alleged that “all canopies, tables and chairs at the venue were badly damaged. The music box (Speakers) of the DJ was shot at by the Ebubeagu, damaging them near-irreparably and even confiscating some of his equipments. The drums of the Cultural Women dancers from Afikpo were destroyed and some seized.
“The drum boxes of the drummers who were on the road waiting for us were destroyed and drummers beaten mercilessly. As at yesterday night, three of supporters from Ugwulangwu reported that operatives of Ebubeagu visited their compounds asking after them. As we write now, they have relocated out the community for fear of their lives.”
Gathering illegal—LG boss
But the Chairman of the Local Government Area, Mr Consider Ajah, denied leading an attack on the Labour Party supporters.
He, however, admitted that Ebubeagu officials went to the area to stop the people gathered there from blocking the road, saying “We did not attack anybody. They were blocking the road which is a federal highway and we had to intervene to prevent them from disrupting people’s movement. We have a law that before you hold any form of gathering you must get approval from the local government for security purposes. But they did not do that. We have no interest in what any other party is doing but they should do the right thing at all times.”
Ebubeagu Commander speaks
However, reacting, the Commander of Ebubeagu, Nnanna Friday, denied that Ebubeagu operatives were in the area, saying “We did not attack anybody. They should stop mentioning Ebubeagu every time they have problems among themselves. They may have been attacked by their fellow members who they may have had a disagreement with and they now turned around and blame it on Ebubeagu. They did same thing recently in Izzi and we later discovered that they were attacked by their members.”
Police not aware
On his part, Police spokesperson in the state, Chris Anyanwu, said the command was not aware of the incident.
He promised to make enquiry and get back to our Reporter later.
He was yet to do so at the time of this report.