Unknown gunmen have been wreaking havoc in various communities in Anambra State for several months, kidnapping, killing, and sometimes beheading many people. Many of the so-called unknown gunmen have now been identified.
Many of them, whose terrifying camps in the state’s dense forests have been stormed and destroyed, have been running their mouths and narrating their exploits, demonstrating that they, too, are simply human beings.
Over the course of a year, no less than 30 people, including security personnel, were killed as a result of the mystery gunmen’s actions. During their actions, the gunmen also set fire to a number of police stations and operational security vehicles.
The situation was so serious that the Anambra State governorship election in November 2021 was threatened that the electoral umpire, INEC, almost considered delaying the poll. Dr. Chike Akunyili, the late Professor Dora Akunyili’s spouse, was assassinated at the height of the state’s unknown gunmen drama. Akunyili was killed by gunmen at Nkpor in Idemili after attending a function in Onitsha where he received a posthumous award for his late wife. Other victims of the unknown gunmen included a lawmaker representing Governor Chukwuma Soludo in the state House of Assembly, Dr. Okechukwu Okoye, a former member of the state House of Assembly, Hon Nelson Achukwu, a woman and her four children killed at UGA, and Sir Paulinus Mbanugo, an Onitsha-based man.
When Governor Chukwuma Soludo took office, he couldn’t get started because there were news every day about gunmen burning down police stations, attacking local government headquarters, and killing people. Many communities were forced to advise their relatives living outside the state not to return home until the situation improved.
Realizing that no genuine achievements could be recorded in such a situation, Soludo vowed to first reclaim the state before carrying out his promised programs for the people. As a result, the combat began. First, he resurrected the Anambra Vigilante Group and authorized them to confront the often heavily armed gunmen. All indications are that the governor’s actions are yielding excellent outcomes.
Security officers have detained eight people accused of being involved in the murder and beheading of the late Hon Okechukwu Okoye, the lawmaker representing Governor Soludo’s Aguata Constituency 11 and his assistant. A few others have been selected as well, and they are supporting security personnel in identifying the camps in the forests. Coffins, charms, deadly medicines, prostitutes, cars of all types, and big sums of money were common features in these forests.
Normalcy is gradually returning to the various settlements following the routing and smoking out of these gunmen from their camps in the woods. The routing began with the elimination of one of the most feared camps, which was located in the dense forest along the bank of the Oseakwa River bordering Ihiala and Ogwuaniocha in Ogbaru local government area and was ruled by the alleged king of the gunmen, widely known as Double Lion. Double Lion didn’t see it coming when he and four of his comrades were gunned down by their renegade colleagues, who have since repented and are now working for the state. They had to get rid of Double Lion and his gang since they ruined the original plan by extorting and harassing people during weddings, burials, and other rituals.
Due to traffic congestion on the Onitsha-Owerri road, Double Lion, who hailed from Awoidemili in Orsu local government area of Imo State, began his gun activities along the now-abandoned Awka Etiti – Utuh- Ukpor- Orsumoghu- Lilu- Mbosi- Isekke axis, which used to be the connecting route between Anambra and other states of Imo,
The armed gang also established a new operational base in the Unubi forest, a town in Anambra State’s Nnewi South local government area. When the gunmen declared that axis their safe haven and established similar camps inside the Orsumoghu and Lulu woods, motorists abandoned the road after many persons were kidnapped or slain.
Because of what happened on that road, Governor Chukwuma Soludo imposed a curfew on the whole Anambra South senatorial zone and prohibited the usage of motorbikes at particular times.
When confronted by the gunmen, the governor vowed never to cede the state to them, saying that his administration must retake and make Anambra a habitable state.
According to the governor, the majority of the mysterious gunmen are Igbo. “Let us be clear: the criminals wreaking havoc in Anambra are Igbos (mostly from neighboring South East states) whose true goal is lucrative criminality and imposing their pagan religion on the region.” Why is it that they have a deity/idol to which they habitually offer blood in sacrifice whenever they congregate and in every camp they operate? Igbo are famed for their commercial acumen, yet these criminals are hell-bent on destroying Ndigbo enterprises.