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Police allegedly set houses on fire to avenge colleague’s death

Fear took possession of the residents of Ndiegoro community in Aba, Abia state as police officers numbered over 60 raided the area, burning buildings, businesses and looting property over the murder of their colleague.

As at the time of presenting this report, more than 17 buildings located in the Degema, Umuosi, Okojombo and Anaba streets in the Ndiegoro area were burned and properties looted by furious Policemen armed to the teeth.

Gunmen had last Friday fired a police officer and a civilian bus driver identified as ther “informant” as they patrolled the Ndiegoro area. The police also lost three AK rifles against the thugs. has deduced that the police team generally comes to the area to “collect money” from a drug cartel operating in Ndiegoro; an crime-infest area in Aba.

Enraged by the death of his colleague, the police arrived in the area in a style of command, between heavy gunshots and arrests of residents. Others have embarked on a wave of looting and set fire to the buildings.

Residents have fled the area for fear of being arrested, as more than 100 are detained in the Ndiegoro police division.

A landlord, identified as Andy Onyedinanma, regretted that his 15-room apartment had been burned by the police, who had also looted the properties.

“What happened was that Policemen usually come to Okojombo and Degema streets to collect their share from a drug cartel in the area.

“On Friday, they were doing the same thing around 6:15 pm when some hoodlums confronted them. A fight broke. The Police began shooting but were overpowered and lost their guns to the hoodlums. The hoodlums killed one of the policemen and a civilian who drove their patrol bus. The police returned after the incident, setting buildings on fire and arresting residents they could lay their hands on.”

A shop owner, resident of Anaba Street alleged that the Police ransacked homes and shops looting bags of rice, cartons of indomie, plasma TV, generator sets, handsets, weapons, cartons of beer and clothes.

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She said,

“The police looted shops and houses carting away bags of rice, television, clothes and other things and still set fire to the building. How many buildings of innocent people will the police continue to burn? Over 50 persons were arrested in our compound and the police collected N100,000 from them as bail. They are still arresting more people.”

“Now, we have no place to lay our heads, everything has been destroyed. Why will the Nigeria Police punish us for an offense we did not commit?

Reacting to the allegations of policemen looting properties and setting buildings ablaze, Abia State Police Commissioner, Mr. Ene Okon, “Police did not burn any house. Where is the policeman? The ones that were caught in an army uniform were they? They can go back and burn whatever they want.

“I don’t know of any police and I’m the head of police in Abia and I’m saying that police have not burnt any house. Anybody that has hand in the murder of the policeman will face the law.

“We didn’t release anybody not to talk about collecting money. After killing a police officer and collecting AK47 with 40 rounds, they come to you people to whip sentiments. We are looking for those arms now. The community should be ashamed. They’re harboring criminals and now they’re accusing police of coming to collect money.

“Even if police came there to collect money, does that warrant killing them? The group that did this where are they from? Is it not from the same community? The people burnt the buildings to cover their tracks.”

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