From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Six soldiers and an undisclosed number of unknown gunmen were allegedly killed in Ohafia, Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State in the early hours of yesterday as the military battled hoodlums in the area.
It was gathered that on Thursday, about 5pm, some gunmen stormed the Ebem Motor Park, shot sporadically in the air and fled.
Sunday Sun learnt that when soldiers in the nearby 14 Brigade of the Nigeria Army got wind of the incident, they went after the hoodlums. It was reported that the soldiers later reinforced and went back to Amangwu community in the early hours of yesterday.
Reports have it that during their second visit, the gunmen engaged the soldiers in a gun battle which lasted for several hours.
In the crossfire, unconfirmed report has it that six soldiers were killed, while an undisclosed number of the unknown gunmen were equally gunned down.
The operation caused the natives to flee from their homes as many of them slept in the bush till the following morning when the soldiers returned to their barracks about 8.45am.
A native of Amangwu Ohafia, Udo, who resides in Umuahia, while confirming the incident, told Sunday Sun that one of his relatives called him on phone at 4.30am and told him he was calling from the bush where they had gone to take refuge.
People residing in Elu, Ebem and other adjoining villages in Ohafia equally had tales to tell.
A man who described himself as Iheanyi and a resident of Ebem said: “People are still indoors, no vehicles on the streets and we have no hope of going out to look for what to eat.
“Over 300 soldiers were drafted to Ohafia in the past three days and everywhere is militarised and people are afraid to move about freely.
“What we are seeing in Ohafia today (yesterday) is a reminiscent of the sit-at-home order by the IPOB when all the streets were deserted as people stayed at home.”
Another man, Kalu, said soldiers used bayonets to puncture the tyres of a man’s SUV in Ebem over alleged infraction of their rules.
Recall that gunmen had penultimate week, attacked and burnt the home of a prominent son of Amangwu.
They were said to have been irked that the man mounted tracker cameras which they claimed pointed towards the home of a native doctor in the area.
Investigations revealed that about 300 soldiers were drafted to Ohafia in the past three days to beef up security in the South East to checkmate the activities of the unknown gunmen.