According to a report by SaharaReporters, the many residents of Ikem-Isioroto community in the Isi-Uzo local government area of Enugu State have run away from home.
They are deserting their families and town as gunmen suspected to be kidnappers again attacked the community and abducted a resident on Tuesday.
SaharaReporters gathered that the Tuesday’s attack made it seven residents of the community that had been abducted in the same area in the last one week.
It had been reported that gunmen suspected to kidnappers had been laying siege in Ikem-Isioroto along the Obollo Afor- Ikem – Nkalagu federal highway and kidnapped no fewer than six people recently.
The incidents, it was gathered, had sent the community members into fear, forcing some residents to start abandoning their houses to neighbouring communities, while the commuters now avoided plying the only road connecting the communities long the area to town.
A resident of Ikem told SaharaReporters that a passenger was kidnapped on Tuesday after multiple shots.
Meanwhile, relatives of one of the previous kidnapped victim, a 70 years old Benjamin Ogbodo, said the kidnappers made ransom demand of N5million.
According to a native of Ishioroto, Ekene Nnaji, “The unknown gunmen returned to Ikem today (Tuesday) and kidnapped a hapless traveller at Isioroto, the same strategic spot where most of the incidents take place. He was travelling from Obollo through Ikem and was stopped by the gunmen at about 6am. They shot him and dragged him out of the car into the bush and headed towards the boundary with Benue State.
“The community quickly raised alarm. Soldiers were called in and they combed the forest with the local vigilantes. They tracked the kidnappers through the blood of their latest victim till Ado River, meaning they had crossed into Benue State. The search party then returned.
“This evening the local vigilantes arrested a suspicious man with dried blood on his body in the village. He was found to be from Benue State and may have taken part in the kidnap. He has been handed over to the police for Investigation.”
Put together, the kidnappers now have seven people in captivity, including a female National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member and the 70 years old Ogbodo who is father to a Catholic priest.
The villagers said that they had been unable to raise the ransom demand, noting that the kidnappers were getting more desperate as the deadline for changing of Naira notes approaches on January 31.
“We now live in fear and we are running away from our homes for fear of being kidnapped because the gunmen terrorise us morning and evening without challenge. The security operatives arrive when they are gone.
“We are calling for a mobile police post at Ugwuatu, the hot spot, and a strengthening of the local vigilantes and forest guards by the Enugu State government to contain the menace.
“We are also calling on the DSS, to act on intelligence given to them and arrest the suspects swiftly before they leave their present location,” Nnaji pleaded.
SaharaReporters learnt that the governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, was reported to have summoned leaders of Ikem community to Enugu government house in a bid to find solution to the problem.
Meanwhile, efforts to get the reaction of the police in Enugu State on the recent development were unsuccessful as the Command’s spokesman, Daniel Ndukwe could not be reached for comment.