By Uche Amunike
Not less than six people are feared dead and many more, injured as unidentified gunmen attacked the APGA rally venue of the Odoata Central School, Ihiala, Anambra state.
The gunmen engaged the security operatives in Governor Willie Obiano’s convoy in a shooting duel that lasted for over one hour.
Even though a soldier was shot during the shootout, reports say that not less than six people died in the process, leaving several others injured.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, was to hold a political rally in the area and the gunmen made their appearance when the governor was arriving with his convoy, forcing his security operatives to fight the attackers.
The Anambra state Police Relations officer, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga has confirmed that gunmen attacked the APGA Rally, saying that one AK-47 rifle,, two magazines with 30 rounds of ammunition and a Toyota Hilux van where recovered from the attackers.
He assured that the military is on ground while mop up operation is ongoing, normalcy has since returned to the area.
Speaking during an interview, the Anambra state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C Don Adinuba said that unidentified gunmen attacked the APGA Rally, for the November 6 gubernatorial election in the State.
He stated that the gunmen came in different motorcycles and in three vehicles namely a Toyota Lexus 350 ES with Registration number EKY 765 EX, Toyota RAV4 with plate number JJJ 434FP. The number of the Ford car they came with could not be ascertained because it caught fire during the shootout.
The Commissioner explained that the gunmen could not withstand the superior fire power of the security operatives and therefore, took refuge in the premises of our Lady of Lourdes Hospital situated directly opposite the campaign ground.
His words: ‘They suffered serious injuries, even though they managed to shoot a gallant soldier. If the gunmen had not run into the hospital which is a very delicate place to shoot any person, the security men would have gunned all of them down them’.
‘Security forces, who recovered all three vehicles and motorcycles used by the gunmen, were searching the area to fish out the attackers.’
He however added that the Anambra state Police command I requested people in the area not to hesitate in reporting people with gunshot wounds. They also asked the authorities of our Lady of Lourdes hospital here now although health facilities in the local government area with neighbouring communities in the neighbouring Imo state to report to the agencies whenever they noticed patients with gun wounds.
Governor Obiano house extolled the police officers and soldiers for repelling the gunmen attack on APGA.
On his part a governorship candidate professor chukwuma soludo, while commenting on the gunmen attack on APGA,describe the response of the security men as professional, saying that it exhibited patriotism.
Recall that saludo lost three policemen on March 31 as unknown gunmen attacked the APGA gathering where he was addressing the youths of his town, Isuofia in Aguata Local Government of Anambra.
He extolled security operatives in Anambra state for laying down their lives for the citizens saying that they put in their best because of the encouragement given to them by the security conscious state government. He encouraged them to keep exhibiting professionalism in their line of duty, especially as the election date is fast approaching.
He expressed sympathy for innocent victims who were affected during the attack and then, pleaded with aggrieved people to opt for dialogue in resolving every difference in the interest of the people