A yet-to-be-identified woman was feared dead on Wednesday, when masked gunmen attacked some residents along Enugu- Abakaliki Road, Emene, in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State. The gunmen, said to be members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) enforcing the sit-at-home order, set a Sienna vehicle ablaze at Orie Emene in the council area. The incidents took place around 7 a.m. Details of the attack along Enugu- Abakaliki road is still sketchy, but sources say the woman was killed at PRODA junction along the road, about 10 minutes’ drive from Orie Emene, where the second attack occurred. On the attack at Orie Emene, a resident of the area told Easterner that the gunmen stopped the driver of the Sienna and forced the passengers to disembark before setting the vehicle ablaze.
“My brother even escaped the attack by the grace of God,” the resident said.
The vehicle was reportedly heading to Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, when it was intercepted by the gunmen. Another resident, who identified himself simply as Uchechukwu, said he was returning from early morning devotion in the church when he saw the vehicle in flames.
“As I was coming back from morning mass, I saw the vehicle in flames. It’s just opposite our street,” he said. When contacted, the police spokesperson in the state, Daniel Ndukwe, confirmed the attack. He said no life was lost in the incident. Mr Ndukwe confirmed the gunmen were masked. The police have launched a manhunt for the assailants, Mr Ndukwe said.
The police spokesperson enjoined residents to assist the police with “credible information” that will help to track down the suspects.
The five states in the South-east have been observing the sit-at-home order since Monday, declared by IPOB. The order continued on Wednesday in the South-east region following the resumption of Mr Kanu’s trial at the Federal High Court, Abuja. Security has deteriorated in the region lately, with the increase in deadly attacks on security agencies and government facilities. The Nigerian government has accused IPOB of being responsible for the attacks in the South-east. But the group has repeatedly denied their involvement. The separatist group is leading agitation for an independent state of Biafra to be carved out from the South-east and some parts of the South-South. Mr Kanu, the leader of the group, appeared in court on Wednesday, in continuation of his terrorism trial.