One person was feared killed, on Monday, by gunmen who carried out multiple attacks in different communities in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State, Nigeria’s south-east.
The gunmen, who fired sporadic gunshots, also set many vehicles ablaze during the multiple attacks in the state at about 5 a.m.
The vehicles affected during the attacks were two Sienna, five tricycles, two saloon cars, a Toyota SUV and a mini-bus.
The gunmen were said to be enforcing the controversial Monday sit-at-home declared by a faction of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a group leading the agitation for an independent state of Biafra which it wants to be carved out from the South-east and some parts of the South-south.
The hoodlums first attacked and set ablaze two saloon cars at the popular T-Junction in the council area at about 5:30 a.m.
The gunmen also got to Harmony Road, Umuchigbo, a community in the council area, where they set ablaze a minibus and a Toyota SUV, about 10 minutes later.
At a motor park in Liberty, Abakpa-Nike, another community in the council area, the hoodlums also razed two Sienna vehicles and five tricycles otherwise known as Keke-Napep.
During the attack at the T-Junction, a man who declined to step out of the vehicle, was reportedly burnt alive in the vehicle by the gunmen.
“They stopped the man and commanded him to step out of the car, the man resisted and that made the gunmen open the fuel tank, and shot into the tank causing the car to go up in flames with the man inside,” an unnamed witness was quoted as saying in the local media.
Destiny Igboji, who survived the incident, said the gunmen attacked him and other commuters at the T-Junction, but that he escaped.
“It was so heavy,” he said of the attack. He was silent on whether anybody was killed during the attack.
“I don’t know what to say because, at this time, my body is still shaking. My body is full of injuries, blood,” Mr Igboji stated.
When contacted, the police spokesperson in Enugu State, Danie Ndukwe, confirmed the multiple attacks to PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr Ndukwe, a deputy superintendent of police, however, said no life was lost in the attacks.
“There was no casualty recorded, while police detectives and tactical operatives are on the trail of the hoodlums,” he said.
“Meanwhile, one white Toyota Sienna minivan and black-coloured Lexus RX300 SUV, used by the armed arsonists to perpetrate the heinous act, have been recovered,” Mr Ndukwe stated.
The police spokesperson enjoined residents of the state to support the police with “credible information and intelligence” to track down the fleeing gunmen.
IPOB, in August 2021, introduced a sit-at-home order every Monday across the South-east to pressure the Nigerian government to release its detained leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who is standing trial for alleged terrorism at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The separatist group later suspended the order, in preference for it to be implemented only on the days Mr Kanu appears in court.
But despite its suspension, residents of the five South-east states – Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Abia and Anambra – have been observing the Monday sit-at-home order, mostly out of fear.
Some residents and motorists, including commuters, have been attacked lately by gunmen for stepping out of their homes on Monday and other declared sit-at-home days.
A factional IPOB leader, Simon Ekpa, has been accused of being behind the recent sit-at-home orders in the region.
Mr Ekpa, a Nigerian-Finnish citizen, has repeatedly declared sit-at-home orders across the region.
In February, the controversial pro-Biafra agitator was arrested in Finland over the sit-at-home orders and rising insecurity in the South-east.
He was released hours later by the Finnish police, while investigations into the allegations against him were expected to continue.
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