Gunmen alleged to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on Tuesday held the convoy of the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano of Anambra State, hostage for about an hour.
The incident happened as the attackers disrupted the campaign train of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) at Odata Secondary School in Ihiala Local Government Area of the State, ahead of the November 6 governorship election.
There are reports that “the governor’s convoy was held for about one hour, while there were gunshots all over” even as the Police Public Relations Officer in Anambra, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, disclosed that operatives of Anambra Police Command repelled the attack at Odata.
While confirming that there was an attack in Ihiala, the police spokesman listed exhibits recovered from the attackers to include: one AK 47 rifle, two magazine with 30 rounds of ammunition, one Lexus 350 SUV, one Rav 4 jeep, one Mercedes Benz, and a Toyota Corolla.
Naija News reports that Ikenga stated that preliminary investigation revealed that the hoodlums started shooting sporadically when the governor’s convoy arrived Odata Secondary School but security operatives took control.
He said that normalcy has been restored in the area and operations are ongoing for possible arrest of the fleeing gang members.
Reacting to the attack, Anambra state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment Mr. C.Don Adunuba, said a combined team of policemen and soldiers repelled the attack.
According to him, gunmen came on various motorcycles and in three vehicles, namely, a Toyota Lexus 350 ES with registration number EKY 765 EX, Toyota RAV4 with number JJJ 434FP and a Ford van whose number could not be ascertained as of press time because it caught fire during the exchange of bullets between the gunmen and security forces.
He said the gunmen, unable to withstand the superior firepower of the security operatives ran into the premises of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, which is directly opposite the campaign ground.
“If the gunmen had not run into the hospital which is a very delicate place to shoot any person, the security men would have gunned all of them down them,” he said.
He said the Anambra State Police Command has requested the people in the area to help lookout for people with gunshots and report them.
He also asked hospitals and other health facilities in both Ihiala Local Government Area and neighboring communities in Imo State to report persons with gunshot injuries.
Meanwhile, the Anambra State Governor, Obiano has commended police officers and soldiers who repelled the attack.
Addressing journalists at Atani in Ogbaru LGA where he led a large crowd of APGA faithful to welcome the APGA governorship candidate in the forthcoming election, Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo, the Governor described the response of the security men as professional and patriotic.
In the same vein, Soludo, who lost three policemen guarding him when he was attacked on March 31 in his hometown of Isuofia, Aguata local government area, while addressing the youth, lauded the security forces for bravery.
“These security men and women in Anambra State lay down their lives for us and they do their best because of the encouragement they receive from the security-conscious state government, among other factors.
“We expect more professional exhibition as days go by and the election date approaches,” he said.