Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
Three persons have been killed, as rival gangs loyal to two All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwarts in Afikpo South Local Government area of Ebonyi State clashed.
One of the victims, it was gathered is a police officer.
The incident, it was learnt, happened in Ekoli-Edda community in the council area on boxing day.
Sources in the area said rival groups loyal to the APC State Chairman, Stanley Okoro Emegha; and the party’s House of Representatives Candidate for Afikpo North and Afikpo South Federal Constituency, Eni Uduma Chima; were involved in the clash.
One of those killed in the clash is a 39 years old man, Eseni Kalu Egwu.
Also, a section of a house in Mr Emegha’s compound in the community was set ablaze in the clashes.
A vehicle belonging to the Police was said to have been set ablaze while another vehicle in the convoy of Mr Emegha was taken away to an unknown destination by the gunmen.
The duo hail from the community but have been political foes for a very long time.
Both are loyalists of the State Governor, David Umahi.
The clash was said to have started after an election into the leadership of a youth group in the area.
It was not immediately clear who started the clashes but sources alleged that armed supporters of the two APC stalwarts suddenly engaged each other in a gun fight.
The source claimed that youths loyal to Mr Emegha arrived the market square in the area and shot sporadically into the air and left.
The development, the source further noted, attracted youths of the community loyal to Mr Eni, who regrouped and engaged the youths loyal to Mr Emegha in a gun duel.
The incident occurred at 6pm, on Monday.
“At night, unidentified gunmen stormed the country home of Mr Emegha and set it ablaze around 10pm,” the source said.
The APC Chairman, Mr Emegha, confirmed the burning of his house.
He said the gunmen attacked him and his convoy unprovoked killing a Special Protection Unit (SPU), Police Officer attached to him.
He said two other persons from the village were also killed.
He said: “It was unprovoked and unbelievable. There was no quarrel or dragging of anything, they just opened fire on me and those who went with me to the village.
“Nobody knows if it was what they smoked or drank but I believe that someone was instrumental to it.
“Yes. It’s true. They attacked me tonight at Ekoli Edda community, and the same people, some of whom I know, I have just heard, burnt my house.
“They attacked me and they burnt my house. I call on the police and other security agencies to swing into action. They know what to do to unravel the truth of the matter. They know what to do.”
“We have three casualties, an SPU Officer, Inspector Akpan, attached to me, and two other persons from the community.
“They burnt one Police vehicle, a Sienna being used by AK deparent and my Hilux has not been found up till now.
“I was not there when they burnt the house but I got information that they burnt a section of the old building in my compound but they didn’t burn the new building but they destroyed some of the glass windows.”
Mr Eni could not be reached for comments at the time of this report. He did not take calls placed to his phone lines.
Police spokesperson, Chris Anyanwu confirmed the incident. He however promised to give details of Police findings later.