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Army to assist Imo, Anambra, Enugu fight kidnapping

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, has said that kidnappings have resurfaced in three states– Enugu, Anambra and Imo.

The COAS spoke in Enugu shortly after commissioning the Nigerian Army Projects in 103 Battalion Barracks in Awkunanaw.

Enugu, one of the states he identified as kidnappers’ den, recently witnessed the kidnap of the Vice-Chancellor of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Prof. Cyprain Onyeji.

Onyeji was kidnapped  in front of the university about 11.30 am.

Three policemen on duty at the university gate tried to stop the four-man gang.

They engaged the gunmen in a gun battle, but were overpowered.

The hoodlums dragged Onyeji out of his car and bundled him into theirs, escaping to an unknown destination.

Police spokesman Ebere Amaraizu confirmed the kidnap.

He said the police were on the trail of the kidnappers.

Amaraizu said the injured policemen have been treated.

Varsity’s spokesman Ossy Ugwuoti said no demand had been made by Onyeji’s abductors.

Lt.-Gen Ihejirika said the army was making tremendous progress in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents.

He said kidnapping was one of the biggest problems that the army confronted in 2010 in Aba, Abia State. He regretted that after the army had helped Aba to bounce back, the kidnappers seemed to have relocated to Enugu, Anambra and Imo states.

The army chief said there was need to put in place measures to stop the menace.

Lt.-Gen. Ihejirika promised to provide additional patrol vehicles that would help fight the menace. He urged the Enugu State government and other stakeholders to complement the efforts of the army towards ending kidnappings.

Lt.-Gen. Ihejirika urged governors, local government chairmen and community leaders to join the fight.

He said such collaboration would assist security agencies to perform better.

The army chief said:  “What this means is that we still have to go back because a lot needs to be done. It is a serious concern not just to the army but to every person who calls himself an indigene of Enugu State.

“I have just discussed with the commanding officer on certain measures he has to take. Part of the things I intend to do is to give him additional vehicles for patrol.

 

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