A combine team of police and Army arrested 66 suspected warlords on Saturday afternoon at one flash points in effium community, in Ohaukwu Local Government area of Ebonyi state, there have been a lingering communal war between the Effium and Ezza Effium community.
55 of the warlords have reportedly escape from the custody of police. The suspected warlords were arrested at Okpuduma village of the community with arms and local charms, the raid of the area was carried out by 82 Division of the Nigeria Army, commanded by Maj. Gen. Taoreen Lagbaja
There have been persistent killings, shootings, and burning of houses in the trouble community. The state commissioner of police, Aliyu Garba and his special team were among those that complained Lagbaja who was on operational visit to the troubled community, the State Deputy Governor Dr. Kelechi Igwe, the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha among other government officials, facilitated the arrest of the suspected warlords who were seen in the deserted village.
The suspects were rounded up and security agents in the area searched the places they were spotted and recovered some arms and ammunitions guns including charms.
After the arrest of the suspects and recovery of the arms and charms, the GOC and the team proceeded to Nwekendiagu village in the community for same operation while the suspects were handed over to the police by the GOC for movement to police headquarter, Abakaliki for further interrogation.
But immediately the team left the community, information filtterd in that 55 out the 66 suspected warlords have escaped from the custody and their whereabouts is still unknown as of the time of filing this report.
Speaking on the escape of the suspects, the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Chief Stanley Emegha described it as a sabotage on the part of security agencies.
He accused the security agents who were handed over the suspects of aiding their escape and threatened that the government would be forced to use the state vigilante to end the persistent hostilities in the community.
“Our visit today was a major breakthrough by arresting those people but very unfortunate that out of the 66, security agencies that were saddled with the responsibility of guarding those people to Abakaliki capital city, compromised, as we moved, they released them and the Governor through the Deputy Governor has demanded for an explanation from the CP and the Commanding Officer.
“The Commissioner of Police was there, he saw them. It was my insistence that those people must be arrested, that these are the warriors and they shouldn’t be allowed to stay in the community. So, it is a compromise on the part of the security. The reason why we have been having this problem in Effium is because the security has compromised. What happened this afternoon is very clear to every body that they have compromised”, he said
Earlier, GOC 82 Division, Maj.Gen. Lagabaja said he was in the community to stop the hostilities.
When contacted, the state CP, Garba dismissed the claim that there was compromise on the part of the police.
He acknowledged that the arrested 66 suspects were no longer complete but refused to comment further on their escape.
The people of Effium and Ezza Effium have been at war since January this year with over 800 persons including pregnant women and babies killed and many properties burnt to ashes by warlods.
On Thursday this week, Governor Dave Umahi visited the community for the second time following the persistent hostilities but shooting on that day, forced him out of the community.
Following this, the governor declared a dusk to dawn curfew in the community with additional 150 soldiers and 120 mobile Policemen deployed to the area to the community to prevent further hostility in the troubled community.