Onitsha: The official residence of the OBI of Onitsha and Chairman of the Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers, Igwe Alfred Achebe was on Thursday night the venue of a fierce gun duel a large number of gunmen and policemen.
At the end of the shoot out two of the gunmen lay dead. The gunmen had swooped on the Obi’s residence located in the GRA part of the town for what observers said was either a kidnap or an assassination attempt.
Two of the dead were said to be some of the gun men while the third, a woman said to have been felled by stray bullet. She was said to be a beans cake baker in the vicinity.
Achebe who will be celeberating his 8th Ofala festival in the ancient town of Onitsha on Monday, was said to have narrowly escaped the trap of the gunmen following the quick intervention of the police.
The gunmen who were said to have operated in a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and a Mercedes salon car, drove into his residence at about 8 . 00 pm and tried to force themselves into the house when the men of Special Anti Robbery Squad, (SARS) attached to the Onitsha Area command dislodged them.
According to an eye witness, the gunmen engaged the police in a shoot out before they were eventually overpowered by the Police.
The Onitsha Police Area Commander, Mr. John Nwele who confirmed the incident, added that the police recovered the two vehicles used by the gunmen. Some arms and ammunitions, including a rocket launcher with war-head, five AK 45 rifles, 53 loaded live magazines, 14 expended magazines, one giraffe grenade and one bag containing clothes.
Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka said the gunmen started their operation at Neni in Aniocha LGA and drove to Onitsha for the operation.
“Actually there was an attempt by some hoodlums to abduct the monarch on Thursday evening, but it was foiled by policemen within Onitsha who gave a hot chase and gunned down two of them,” Chukwuemeka said.
The Traditional Prime Minister of Onitsha and former Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Chike Ofodile, SAN) said yesterday that the annual Ofala festival would still hold.
“It was the usual rampaging of hoodlums in the city, but this time, they were captured by the police. They did not come for the monarch as the Igwe is safe, preparing for his Ofala,” Ofodile added.