Two killed, Journalist seriously injured as police, irate Youths clash in Anambra

Two persons have been feared killed at Awkuzu, in the Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State after the police and villagers in the area clashed on Wednesday over the death of a 17-year-old boy, Chibuike Akaniru,The youths, it was gathered , attacked the Nteje Police Station, accusing the police of killing Akaniru.

Operatives of the Federal Special -Anti Robbery Squad at Awkuzu were mobilised to the scene of the incident. During the clash between the police and the protesters, two youths were reportedly shot dead. A source, who spoke to PUNCH, narrated how Chibuike Akaniru died.

A young man who was riding a motorcycle in the night tried to evade arrest and was hit by a policeman. He lost control of the motorcycle and died in the process. During the protest that greeted the incident , another youth was gunned down by the police. Human and vehicular movements were at a standstill for over three hours on the Onitsha-Expressway.”Confirming the incident, the state Police Public Relations Officer , Haruna Mohammed, however denied the involvement of the F- SARS operatives.

There is a law prohibiting motorcycle riders from operating in the state from 7 pm,” Mohammed said.
A young man (who was riding a motorcycle at night) , sighted some policemen and attempted to escape. In the process , he rammed into an oncoming vehicle and got injured. He died at a hospital. The youths in the area mobilised themselves that night and moved to the Nteje Police Station, accusing the police of killing their kinsman . But the police were quick to quell the protest.”
On Wednesday, they mobilised again and attacked the police station for the same reason; the police also handled the situation

The police spokesperson said some of the youths had been arrested .

According to Anambra State Broadcasting Service, (ABS) Awka, the villagers comprising youths, elderly men and women barricaded Awkuzu end of Enugu/Onitsha express way and destroyed many vehicles on the way. They also attacked passers by with weapons.

The rampaging youths attacked a bus belonging to Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) which had conveyed a reporter and cameraman to cover the developing story of the killing, leaving a Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500,000) damage.

Narrating what happened, Chibuzor Okoye, the ABS reporter sent to cover the story said that the villagers out of anger over what the police did to their son were unconsolable.

They took the law into their hands destroying vehicles and harassing passers by. We were lucky to escape with our lives. My colleague, Nicholas Johnson, our cameraman is currently in hospital as a result of injuries he sustained from severe blows to the back the villages inflicted on him with hard wood. Our driver on sighting them and seeing that they were going to attack him too ran away, this angered them and they vented their anger on the bus damaging the back windshield and side windows. They also dented other parts of the vehicle”.

Reacting to the incident, the MD/CEO of Anambra Broadcasting Service, Nze Uche Nworah said he was not proper that the villagers had taken the law into their hands.

It’s unfortunate what happened, the killing of Chibuike Akaniru by the police, but beating innocent people up, harassing them and destroying vehicles is hardly the solution to the problem. Why attack innocent journalists doing their lawful job? We have never witnessed such viscous attacks on our staff before. This brings to the fore the dangers journalists face in Africa while trying to do their job. Our cameraman Nicholas Johnson is in hospital at the moment for X-ray and other tests. He took a big whack to the back and we hope that his spine has not been injured in any way.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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