Gunmen have attacked the convoy of the governorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Ebonyi State, Benard Odoh.
The incident happened on Thursday evening in Okpoto, a community in Ishielu Local Government Area of the state.
The spokesperson of Odohzia Ebonyi Campaign Council, Charles Otu, who disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, said at least five persons attached to the convoy of the APGA candidate were still missing while two others sustained gunshot injuries.
Odohzia is the campaign organisation of the APGA candidate, Mr Odoh, a professor.
The campaign spokesperson said the attackers laid ambush and opened fire on the APGA candidate as soon as they sighted his leading pilot vehicle.
The gunmen operated in a silver-coloured Sienna vehicle and wielded AK-47 rifles, he said.
“The pilot vehicle was shot at not less than eight times before they cordoned off the governorship candidate’s vehicle and riddled his Prado jeep with bullets,” Mr Otu said.
“In the process, his driver was shot at and, as he bled profusely, the ADC swiftly maneuvered and drove off the vehicle with all tyres already punctured and flat down till he managed to get to Pele Filling Station,” he added.
Mr Otu confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the driver, shot by the gunmen, later died as a result of excessive bleeding caused by the gunshot.
The campaign spokesperson identified the victim simply as Ogbonna.
He said efforts were ongoing by a “security team” to rescue the missing persons and that those already rescued have been rushed to the hospital for treatment.
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He accused members of Ebubeagu Security Network of carrying out the attack. But PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify the claim.
Stanley Okoro-Emegha, the security consultant to Ebonyi State Government, however, denied the allegation.
Mr Okoro-Emegha, who oversees all state-owned security operatives including Ebubeagu, told PREMIUM TIMES that Ebubegu operatives had no hand in the attack.
“It is a laughable allegation,” he said, adding that insecurity was not peculiar to Ebonyi State.
Mr Okoro-Emegha, who is also the chairperson of the All Progressives Congress in the state, said the insecurity in the South-east demands the collective involvement of everyone, irrespective of political party affiliation, to solve.
“Odoh is an indigene of Ebonyi State and has all the right to contest for any position he wants. It is left for the people to vote for him or reject him,” he said.
When contacted on Friday morning, the police spokesperson in Ebonyi State, Chris Anyawu, said although he heard of the attack, he had not gotten an official report about it.
“So, until I do that, I cannot confirm it,” said Mr Anyanwu, a superintendent of police.
Ebubeagu was set up in 2021 by governors of the five states in the South-east to help in the fight against insecurity in the region, which has witnessed deadly attacks linked to the Biafra agitation by the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra.
Many people have, however, accused the security outfit of carrying out illegal arrests, abduction, torture and extra-judicial killings.
The security outfit is backed by the Ebonyi State Government.
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