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Boko Haram scare in Anambra, Enugu

PALPABLE fear has gripped traders and residents of the commercial city of Onitsha and communities around Ogbunka in Orumba South Local Government Area, in Anambra State, following unconfirmed rumours that the Islamist fundamentalists , Boko Haram, might have invaded parts of the South Eastern States.

The much-feared terrorist group, which recently penetrated the nation’s security apparatus with a suicide attack at the Nigerian Police Headquarters are understood to be warming up for a possible invasion of some Southern States.

This development came as revelations from Borno State indicated that there had been a suspected mass exodus from Maiduguri, the capital, with the most affected being traders of Eastern origin.

As if reflecting on such a development, President Goodluck Jonathan has come out in clear terms against the insurgence being posed by the Muslim fundamentalists, warning that the Federal Government was ready “to go into battle with the Boko Haram operatives.”

Already, a South Western based powerful socio-cultural group has joined issues with the Boko Haram insurgents warning that the operatives “dare not attempt to come to the South West.”
This was the reaction of Dr. Frederick Fasheun, the Founder of the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) in Lagos, at the week-end. He reiterated that the major essence of the Congress “revolves around defending and protecting Yorubaland.”

Obviously confident that OPC would dislodge any trace of Boko Haram from the South West, Fasheun said, *we will never fail to carry out our duties, if the occasion demands it.” He did not elaborate.

On guard

Last Friday, people moved around the city of Onitsha cautiously and watching their back while many traders stayed away from their shops leaving it under heavy lock and key.

The presence of Boko Haram group was equally rumoured to have been felt around the outskirts of Ogbunka as they descended on their neighbouring Owerre-Ezukala community shooting, killing and stealing.
So far, about 21 suspects are understood to have been have been arrested. They are presently being remanded at the Awka prison.

National Daily Source which pleaded anonymity alleged that Ogbunka terrorists/militants use the Fulani cattle rearers as informants to give them feedback from any impending danger at one of their hideouts at Ugwungodo.
The source claimed that a cave exists around the Ugwungodo axis bordering Ogbunka and Awlaw, in Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State.

A makeshift structure meant for security cover, according to our source was set up by Ogbunka terrorists, who at the onset hired militants from the riverine area to prosecute the communal cleansing and annexation programmes against Owerre-Ezukala

It was not clear as at press time if the Fulani cattle rearers are members of the Boko Haram sect that have held the country to the jugular,  but our source claimed that the Fulanis at the Ugwungodo area bordering Ogbunka and Awlaw are suspected to be “comrades in arms.”

The Owerre-Ezukala Caretaker Committee led by Alphonsus Ikegwu in an updated letter on the invasion and destruction of properties in Owerre-Ezukala, addressed to the  Commander of the 302 Artillery Regiment Onitsha urged him to use his good offices “to invade and destroy the illegal arms depots, kidnappers’ den at Ogbunka.”
The Caretaker Committee had equally in another letter reference OCC/AD/053 dated 24th June, 2011, fingered some prominent individuals from Ogbunka, as suspected sponsors of attacks. 

The affected sponsors are accused of financing and sponsoring the proliferation of arms, ammunitions and weapons circulating freely at Ogbunka, which presently is deserted due to the manhunt being launched by security operatives.

From Maiduguri came reports that majority of the people in Borno State now live in fear and prayers while many are said to have relocated to other neighboring states. Mostly affected are the easterners and westerners resident in the state, who have since been vacating their businesses and homes for safety in their home towns.
Some people interviewed on the security situation in the state appealed to the Federal and State governments to withdraw the Joint Military Task Force from the state on the excuse that their presence or activities “have not changed anything.”

The major arguments against the Task Force operatives is that “the Boko Haram members are still killing and bombing people and places in the state.”

While some people who spoke to our correspondent said in spite of the number and presence of the military turning the state to a war zone, couple with the restriction of movements of vehicles, motorcycles and individuals, no activity could be said to have returned to its normal position, except fear, tension and mourning among people.
According to them, neither the students in schools, workers at work, businessmen and women [traders] in markets, contractors and suppliers, lecturers and teachers, bankers and banks, sportsmen and women as well as others activities have been functioning normally.

Others alleged that “everything is grounded or paralyzed beyond imagination at this peak period of high poverty level, poor salary, hike in prices of foodstuff, high rate of unemployment, lack of farming implements for the farmers, lack of conducive business or working environment and industrial activities, among others.”

There has been a common and general demand for “the withdrawal of the military troops stationed in the state.”
The Boko Haram Islamic fundamentalists have never relented in their determination towards ensuring the implementation of Sharia Legal System in the state and some surrounding states of the northern part of the country in addition to the other conditions they earlier gave out to both the federal and state governments on their grievances.

This was evidenced by the continuous killings and bombing of places of social activities or relaxation like beer parlours, hotels/lodges, joint military check points, police stations and individuals, particularly selected security men and officials who are their targets.

The situation which led to the demise of several innocent lives and destruction of properties worth over N1 billion so far as estimated by concerned people in the state claiming also over 45 human lives including native or traditional doctor/herbalists in Gwnage ward, police traffic warder in Madaganari ward of the metropolis last weekend. It also included the killing of the former Vice Chairman of Ngala LGC, Alhaji Baba Kamfut Saturday night by unknown gunmen who the next day morning when his people and relations as well as family were seated mourning and praying for his departed soul in front of his residence in Ngala where the incident took place.
Eye witnesses telephoned newsmen in Maiduguri to report that some gunmen on motorcycles arrived the same scene of the incident and opened fire discriminatingly on the people that converged to mourn for their brother, father, friend, boss, associate and relation, Baba Kamfut killing 2 more people and injuring many people.
In Maiduguri, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Lawal Abdullahi confirmed the incident to journalists the incident but said the details would be made known later. 

Similarly, the activities of the Islamic fundamentalists have claimed over 38 innocent lives both men and women, young and old that were relaxing at an outskirt of the metropolis popular local brew joints [Burkutu Joints] popularly known as Dala Kofati, where people do converge on daily basis, especially at weekends, to drink local alcohol like Pito and Burukutu.

The Commander of the National Joint Military Task Force deployed to the state on national assignment or mission, Major General Jack Okechukwu Nwaogbo, said the operatives were assigned “to maintain peace and orderliness not to intimidate or molest or harass anybody.” 

“Our mission is very clear and straight forward without any contradiction but we need the support and cooperation of the media to educate and enlighten the people about our mission or activities here in the state for now”.
Nwaogbo noted that the National Joint Task Force “is in the state to build on what the Joint State Military Task Force and Borno state government have been doing to ensure peace returns to the state not to do anything contrary.”

Meanwhile, the military task force men are seen all over the metropolis patrolling while some armed security operatives are strategically stationed in certain locations along all routes in the metropolis to ensure peace, protect lives and properties of the citizenry.

-National Daily

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Posted by on Jul 17 2011. Filed under Anambra, Boko Haram, Enugu, National Politics, State News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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