Security Agents Raid Kidnappers’ Den In Imo For Six Hours
Residents of Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State and Uli in Anambra State have fled their homes following an offensive attack launched by a joint security task force against bandits in the affected areas on Friday.
Traditional rulers in the communities have gone into hiding while prominent sons and daughters of the areas are giving up the idea of celebrating Christmas at home.
GoldenNewsNg gathered that the military operation was in continuation of Monday’s clampdown on hoodlums by a joint security team comprising the Army, the Air Force, the Police Force and the Department of State Service (DSS), which succeeded in busting a gang that had held the entire area, particularly the people of Nkwerre-Uda community in Orsu Ihite-Ukwa village, hostage for a long time unchallenged.
The operation was no doubt a tasking mission for the security operatives as the hoodlums had barricaded the roads with fallen palm trees and also dug gullies on them to prevent security agents and vehicles from gaining access to their camps. The military patrol vehicles were held up for more than 30 minutes as the security operatives had to resort to using shovels to cover the gullies and deploying saws to clear the road of fallen palm trees.
GoldenNewsNg gathered that as soon as the convoy of security agents passed, the criminals would come out from hiding to reopen the gullies while the villagers watched helplessly.
The bandits also mounted several checkpoints where they collect tolls from motorists and levies from villagers conducting traditional marriages or building houses, without anyone challenging them.
One of the kidnappers’ strategies was to lay landmines at strategic points on the roads as well as the entrance to their camp.
Inside the camp was a flat of about eight rooms with dilapidated roofs, doors and windows. Among the horrifying sights in it were pits filled with decomposing human bodies, decapitated human heads, charred remains of human beings, dreadful shrines and clear practice of cannibalism.
The topography of Nkwerre-Uda in Orsu Ihitte-Ukwa Community of Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State and Umuezeala Uli Community in Anambra State provides conducive environment for criminal activities. The area is surrounded by deep valley and thick bushes that provide easy escape routes for the criminals.
According to a security source, the valley requires an air raid and a permanent military camp to sustain the successes recorded in the raid for sanity to return to the areas.
It was a hectic moment for mortuary attendants trying to evacuate decomposing bodies of abducted victims who were slaughtered and dumped into seven feet deep pit dug at left rear of the camp. There were several other pits covered with earth and believed to have been filled with the remains of the victims.
The security agents came face to face with scores of decomposing and roasted corpses of human beings, some of which appeared to have been partially consumed while the remaining parts were left in the shrines and pits.
About four human skulls were also found in one of the baskets in the bandits’ camp, roasted together with decapitated legs.
GoldenNewsNg also gathered that some of the body parts were roasted and consumed while some parts were used in cooking soup. ”We discovered a pot of egusi (melon) soup full of human meat,” said one of the security men.
Two traditional rulers who were kidnapped from their palaces, Eze Paul Ogbu of Ihitte Ihube and his counterpart, HRH Eze Acho Ndukwe of Amagu Ihube in Okigwe LGA, were abducted same day by different groups of the gangsters. Eze Ogbu was murdered by the hoodlums while Eze Ndukwe was rescued from the bandits’ camp by the security personnel before he could be killed.
The Imo State Government moved in to evacuate more than 10 decomposing bodies, including the corpse of the traditional ruler Eze Paul Ogbu, which was dumped in a pit. Also discovered in the pit was near decomposing body of the youth leader of Ihitte Community, Okigwe, Victor Chukwuemeka Osueke.
The joint security team accompanied the mortuary attendants from the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owerri and Aladimma to evacuate the bodies.
According to one of the mortuary attendants, the monarch and the youth leader appeared to have been clubbed to death while other victims either had their heads chopped off or their bodies dismembered.
One of the monarchs’ younger brothers, who did not want his name mentioned for security reasons, was at the site to identify the late traditional ruler and the youth leader’s body. Both were abducted from their homes in Okigwe last week.
He told The Nation: “They killed him because they accused him of supporting the Governor Hope Uzodimma second term bid.
Speaking to The Nation at the DSS office, the son of the late traditional ruler, Prince Chuks Ogbu, confirmed that the evacuated body was that of his father. ”It is the body of my father,” he said.
The leader of the security team, Wilcox Idaminabo, said they were at the camp based on intelligence that bandits had turned the place to a haven for kidnapping and all sorts of crimes.
As a result of the raid, the security agents were able to rescue HRH Eze Acho Ndukwe of Amagu Ihube in Okigwe LGA, who was abducted some days back.
“In addition, we recovered vehicles and saw a lot of dead bodies, as their stock in trade was to kidnap, kill, behead some and roast,” Idaminabo said.
The team leader said that Governor Uzodimma had asked them “to sustain the momentum, return stability and normalcy in the area to achieve the target of ensuring that the people come home to enjoy Christmas.”
Receiving the team on arrival at the DSS office in Owerri, the State capital, Governor Uzodinma thanked God for the successes recorded, insisting that “it is only by the Grace of God who hears the fervent prayers of his people that the success was achieved.”
He added that he was vindicated as he had said that the spate of insecurity in the state was contrived, sponsored and masterminded by disgruntled politicians who have sworn to make the state ungovernable for him.
He described the hoodlums as “ordinary criminals who have no future marauding as bandits” and vowed that “the law would take its course on them.”
The governor further assured that government would take on criminals in the state headlong, describing banditry as a “jungle business.”
Expressing gratitude to God and the Security agencies for saving his life from kidnappers, Eze Acho Ndukwe described the role played by the security operatives following the directive of the governor as “wonderful show of power unprecedented in his life time.”