The PUNCH reports that there was pandemonium on Saturday after masked gunmen stormed Ekwe Community in the Isu Local Government Area of Imo State and abducted 15 male youths of the community.
The gunmen stormed the community through the Njaba River that demarcated Ekwe Community from Amucha Community in Njaba LGA, a community leader said.
An indigene of Ekwe Community, Akubuo Princewill, told our correspondent on the telephone that the gunmen kidnapped 15 young men who were excavating sand at the Njaba River.
Akubuo said that the gunmen shoot indiscriminately into the air and were in search of more youths of the community to abduct.
He said some young men and other natives who sighted them from afar dashed into nearby bushes to escape abduction.
Akubuo appealed to the state government to come to the rescue of the community even as he wondered what could have informed the invasion of the community.
He said, “We are appealing to the state governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma to come to our rescue.
“This morning, some masked gunmen invaded our community, Ekwe through Amucha, arrested some young men who were excavating sand at Njaba River.
“After that, they went into the community shooting sporadically leading to people running helter-skelter.
“Some ran into the surrounding bushes to escape arrest. The gunmen were arresting only male young men. They ignored girls and women as well as elderly men.
“Later, they stormed the palace of our traditional ruler, Eze Nicholas Ibekwe, commanded all to lie down and released about 20 gunshots into the air. They didn’t kill anybody but we are hearing that some might have sustained gunshot injuries.”
The traditional ruler of the community, Eze Nicholas Ibekwe, confirmed the story to our correspondent.
Speaking also through telephone, Eze Ibekwe disclosed that four of the gunmen stormed his palace and commanded all of them to lie down.
The monarch said before storming his palace, the information had come to him that hooded gunmen arrested 15 of his subjects who were excavating sand at Njaba River.
According to the royal father, it was one of the young men who was arrested but let off the hook owing to his visual impairment that alerted the community of the development.
The traditional ruler disclosed that four of the gunmen who stormed his palace wore camouflage with no masks.
Eze Ibekwe further disclosed that one of the gunmen spoke Hausa Language and one of the people told to lie down at his palace who understands Hausa language responded to the gunman’s astonishment.
According to the monarch, it was at this point the gunman turned toward him and said, “You said you be traditional ruler but you dey train criminals” in pidgin English.
When contacted, the police spokesperson for the command, Michael Abattam, advised the community to lodge a formal report to the police post in the area to enable the police to take the matter up.