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Siege on S-East: Gunmen now operate openly

  In the last couple of weeks, life has once again become hell for residents of the South-East region following upsurge of attacks, killings...


In the last couple of weeks, life has once again become hell for residents of the South-East region following upsurge of attacks, killings and kidnappings by gunmen.


The resurgence was after a recede in November and December last year, which raised hope of the people of the region that the evil activities of unknown gunmen had stopped. They had a peaceful Christmas celebration.


But their hope was dashed recently, when the dreaded gunmen returned with fiercer attacks and killings. No part of the region is free of the attacks. But Ihiala axis in Anambra State, which shares border with Orlu area in Imo State, can unarguably be said to be the theatre of the present crisis. Aguata, Orumba North and Orumba South Council areas, unfortunately, have in the last few days, also come under serious attack by these hoodlums. In the last few weeks, there had been increased attacks and killings in the Aguata/Orumba areas, including the killing of 88-year-old retired professor.


In Enugu and other states in the region, attacks have also been on the rise. Just last week, about five persons were killed while participating in Enugu State Local Government election, an action that prompted Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to summon a meeting of stakeholders in the area where the killing happened.


And perhaps, acting on security intelligence, banned the operations of tricycles, okada and tipper lorries in parts of the council. Ebonyi, Abia and Imo states are also experiencing constant attacks and killings. Simply put, no state in the region is presently safe and the residents now live in constant fear.


Many clashes had been recorded between the gunmen and security operatives who claimed the gunmen were members of the IPOB and their security wing, ESN operatives. IPOB has, however, been denying any involvement in the killings in the region, and in turn, accusing security operatives of launching attacks to suppress their agitation for Biafra. They also accused security agencies of importing mercenaries to Igbo land to maim, kill and kidnap people to justify labelling them as terrorists. While the blame game goes on, the recent attacks had left many casualties on both sides, including a lot of civilians, who were killed or kidnapped by the gunmen or cut down by bullets from security operatives in the process of crossfire.


In the face of the frustrating situation, the big question remains: What is the way out? Have governments, both federal and state, done enough to contain this or have they given up? With huge potentials available to the government, why is it difficult to contain and clear this ugly situation once and for all?


The frightening and scary experience below, shared in the social media by a man who braved the ‘lion’s den’ to save his brother from the hand of hoodlums who claimed to be IPOB members, narrates clearly the grave situation of things in the South-East region. Particularly and of great concern presently is the Lilu-Orsumoghu-Azia axis of Ihiala Council Area of Anambra State which has become very dangerous of recent, up to Orlu axis in Imo State.


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