Two police officers have reportedly died in clashes between security agencies and hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSARS protest in Abịa State.
One of the police officers was killed on Tuesday even as the mob burnt a police station along Umuoba road axis of Ogbor Hill in Aba.
Premium Times learnt that the station was razed when a policeman fired shots at #EndSARS protesters, who refused to disperse when ordered to do so by the police.
This led to a clash with the protesters during which the policeman was killed, while over 15 protesters were said to have sustained injuries from gunshots.
The situation degenerated further when reinforcements from other security agencies arrived and they also clashed with the hoodlums, leading to residents scampering for safety.
The injured protesters were said to have been taken to a missionary hospital located in the area for treatment.
The mob also attacked Eziama Police Division near the popular Bata junction along Aba-Ikot Ekpene Expressway.
It was learnt the angry youth carted away valuable items from the popular Zone 6 police station housing the Dragon Unit of the Force under the Abia State Command.
The chaotic situation, which saw some youths setting up bonfires on major roads, forced roadside traders and their counterparts in various major markets to close shops.
At the time of filing the report, passengers at various motor parks were stranded.
Intra-city commercial transporters were forced to close for the day, forcing many residents and visitors to resort to trekking to their destinations.
The situation was the same in Umuahia, the state capital with gunshots reportedly renting the air, forcing residents indoors.
Ikpeazu imposes 24 hr curfew
Meanwhile, the Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu has imposed a 24-hour curfew in the state capital, Umuahia and commercial city of Aba in a bid to end the clashes.
A statement by the commissioner for information, John Kalu, said at least two police officers have been killed while two police stations have been destroyed.
He said a contingent of police officers on official duty around Azikiwe Road by Asa in Aba, was attacked by yet to be identified hoodlums numbering over 30 on Monday night.
Mr Kalu said the attackers carted away the arms and ammunition of the policemen.
According to him, one of the suspected attackers was apprehended with gunshot injuries.
The commissioner said intelligence reports revealed the influx of more hoodlums into the state in the last few days to cause further mayhem.
“After detailed review and assessment of the general security situation, including reports of armed cultists and hoodlums sneaking into the state from different parts of the country in large numbers, the burning down of at least two police stations, reported killing of two policemen in the last two days as well as leaked plans to unleash more violence on innocent citizens, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has directed security agents to ensure the immediate arrest and prosecution of the hoodlums”
The governor also charged them to pursue a swift and complete recovery of the stolen arms and ammunition with the necessary vigour, and ensure the cultists are comprehensively flushed out.
“To ensure the continued security of lives and property of law-abiding citizens, the governor has also directed the imposition of a 24-hour curfew on Aba and Umuahia from 6pm today till further notice,”
Mr Kalu said the governor has approved a cash reward of N5 million to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of the hoodlums and armed cultists.
“This is in addition to the approval of a reward of N1 million for each authentic video evidence on brutality and extrajudicial killings by security agents in the state submitted to the Judicial Panel of Inquiry being inaugurated to investigate the incidents.”
“Parents and guardians are strongly advised to monitor the activities of their children and wards to ensure that they are not engaged in nefarious activities, predispose themselves to harm or allow themselves to be used to cause mayhem in the state,” the commissioner added.