Suspected gunmen, on Friday night, invaded Ebenator Community in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State, moving from house to house to snatch guns from members of the Anambra Vigilante Group (AVG) operating or residing in the community.
According to a source who spoke anonymity, the gunmen, numbering about thirty, stormed the community at about 11 pm and then moved from house to house to dispossess the security men of their guns.
It was reported that in each house they entered, they tied up adult members of the family, dispossessed them of their phones and other belongings, and started beating them and flogging them with machetes, while coercing and awaiting the security officer to ‘hand-over’ his gun to them.
It was also gathered that they beat up, macheted and injured some of the security men, especially those who attempted to dare them, delay them or even deny having any gun in their possession.
Another source who simply identified himself as Sam alleged that the gunmen, who are now popularly known and addressed as ‘Ụmụọma’ in the entire area, had also recently carried out such invasion and operation in other neighbouring communities in the area, including Ezinifite, where they officially wrote to the Traditional Ruler of the community to gather and assemble all the security men’s guns in the community at a specific venue, where they went and carry them on a fixed date contained in the letter.
Ukpor, the capital of Nnewi South Local Government Area, also had the similar experience, according to the source.
The ‘Ụmụọma’ operatives were also alleged to have recently snatched some motorcycles from some youths of Ebenator community, as they have always done to people, after which they would tell them to come to their camp one by one to bail their vehicles with some amounts of money, ranging from ₦15,000 and above.
Our source further revealed that the Umuoma’s operation are seen mostly in Ezinifite, where they have now made it to be a policy that anyone who intends to organize a burial ceremony or any such crowd-pulling occasion must first come and ‘settle them’ before hosting the event, or else they would storm the venue and disrupt everything on the day of the occasion.
“This thing I’m telling you happened again on 28th of last month (February), 2022 in Ezinifite, where the heavily-armed Umuoma stormed a burial ceremony and disrupted everything with gunshots, beat up the security men sighted in the event with uniform that looked like that of Ebubeagu Security Outfit; while everybody, including the mourners and the burial guests took to their heels and deserted the burial venue for their lives,” the source said.
“Every Monday is now a no-going-out day in this area,” he continued, “because Umuoma patrols around, most especially around Abanator Market in Ezinifite, to enforce the sit-at-home order.
“And anybody they catch will regret his life that day,“ he added, noting that people no longer come out nor go about their normal activities in the area on Monday, due to fear.
Reports abound that ‚Umuoma‘ have also snatched several cars from individuals within the Abanator Market and its environs, and with which they usually move about (without plate number) during their operations.
It would be recalled that Ezinifite community, through Ulasi River, shares boundary with Lilu, Amaruru and some other places that have become major security flashpoints and danger zones in recent time due to the activities of the unknown gunmen.
Hence, speculations abound that there are many migration paths through which the hoodlums easily navigate from one area to the other in that region, to perpetrate their evil acts undisturbed.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in Anambra State, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga said he was not aware of the development, but assured the Command’s resolve to investigate the report and take the necessary action.