The majority of the residents of Akpawfu Community in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State have fled their land, but those who remain now live in fear as soldiers from the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu, invaded the community.
As a result of the killing of some policemen at checkpoints by unidentified gunmen in nearby communities in the area, the police have been arresting youths and able-bodied men.
More than 40 soldiers arrived in four armoured vehicles and other operational vehicles.
The soldiers reported that some residents were harboring the gunmen, according to a source.
Gunmen who attacked police checkpoints reportedly entered the community from Akpugo and in the process, one of their Hilux vans allegedly somersaulted and caught fire near St Philip Catholic Church, Akpawfu.
The soldiers believe that the gunmen must have smashed their vehicle in order to hide their tracks, and that they may be hiding within the area, the source said.
They are worried that soldiers may do to the natives what they did to civilians in Imo State recently.”
A resident, who did not wish to be quoted, said “all young men in the community and even women have gone underground as the soldiers have claimed that the houses being searched were being used as campsites by the gunmen.”
According to him, “I don’t know if that is true for me.”. I know that the gunmen drove past our community on their way to Abakaliki. I don’t understand why the army is punishing us.
Our youths are running away to other towns because we know that the army will target them.”
We recalls that soldiers of the Nigerian Army recently invaded Akpawfu where they arrested mass numbers of youths who allegedly chased away herdsmen whose cows destroyed native farms.
Attempts to reach the Deputy Director Army Public Relations, 82 DV, Enugu, Col. Abubakar Abdullahi, were unsuccessful as his phone rang out.
As of the date of filing this report, he had not replied to the text message.
Editor’s note: This picture was used for illustration