Most natives of Akpawfu Community in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State have fled their land but those who are still remaining now live in fear as soldiers attached to the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu, have invaded the community.
Our Correspondent learnt that owing to the killing of some policemen at check-points by unidentified gunmen in nearby communities in the area, arresting youths and able-bodied men found in the area.
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The soldiers said to be numbering more than 40, arrived in four armoured vehicles and other operational vehicles.
According to a source, the soldiers alleged that some residents were harboring the gunmen.
The gunmen, who had attacked the police check-points, reportedly entered the community from the nearby Akpugo and in the process, one of their Hilux vans summersaulted and caught fire near St Philip Catholic Church, Akpawfu.
“But the soldiers are thinking that the gunmen must have razed their vehicle to cover their tracks, and that they may be hiding within the areas, ” the source said.
Daily Trust gathered that the soldiers’ activities have forced residents to flee en masse.
“They fear that soldiers may do to the natives what they did to civilians in Imo State recently.”
“As I’m talking to you, all young men in the community and even women have gone underground as the soldiers claimed that those houses being searched were used as camping grounds by the gunmen,” a resident, who didn’t want to be quoted, said.
He further said: “For me, I don’t know if that is true. What I know is that the gunmen drove past our community towards Abakaliki. Why army is punishing us is what I don’t understand.
“Our youths are running away to other towns because we know that the army will see the youths here as main targets.”
Daily Trust recalls that recently, soldiers of the Nigerian Army also invaded Akpawfu where they did mass arrest of youths who allegedly chased away herdsmen whose cows destroyed farms of the natives.
Meanwhile, attempt to speak with the Deputy Director Army Public Relations, 82 DV, Enugu, Col. Abubakar Abdullahi, was not successful as his phone rang out.
There was no reply to the text message sent to him as at the time of filing this report.
Editor’s note: This picture was used for illustration