According to reports, at the weekend, kidnappers who blocked the Enugu-Port Harcourt highway between Leru junction and Ihube axis abducted scores of travelers. The kidnappers are thought to be herdsmen.
It was discovered that the whole crew of three buses had been kidnapped by the gunmen, who numbered around 30.
According to reports, the highly armed bandits ambushed a group of soldiers who were dispatched to the area in response to a distress call.
After allegedly setting the military van on fire and injuring two troops, they are said to have herded the passengers of three buses they had kidnapped into the nearby bush.
A youth leader in Umunneochi told reporters that the situation had increased tension in the community.
According to him, the bandits blocked the highway on Saturday night while it was raining, which led to traffic jams that extended to the Leru junction because commuters confused the bandits for police officers stationed at the roadblock.
He claimed that when the bandits opened fire on a military van that arrived, some commuters who had descended to investigate the source of the traffic jam fled.
He claimed that some persons were shot as they sped away from their cars in search of safety.
Since the kidnapping of the Methodist Church Prelate, Dr. Samuel Uche, and two clerics in his entourage, kidnapping for ransom has taken on a nightmare dimension in the area.
Eze Chikamnayo, the Secretary of the Umunneochi Security Committee, who is also the Commissioner for Information in Abia State and was recently appointed by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to address the grave security issues in the region, said there had been an abduction over the weekend.
He pleaded for additional time to be able to provide exact information on the number of casualties, however, and claimed the incident happened on the Imo State side of the freeway.
It occurred on the expressway between Ihube and Umunneochi, he said. There has been a significant decrease in these incidences in Umunneochi itself, but they have moved to the border between Umunneochi and Imo State.
But the Umunneochi Security Committee put in a lot of effort. We have boosted our vigilante force, established roadblocks, and may have deterred them.
“I believe their departure from Umunneochi LGA and continued movement in the direction of the express is a symbol of victory for us. They are precisely at Ihube, which is where Abia and Imo meet.
Innocent Omale, the Army’s public relations officer at 14 Brigade Ohafia, claimed he was at a meeting when he was reached, therefore attempts to gain a comment from the Army were futile.
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