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Police avert reprisal in Anambra communities as traditional ruler calls for abolition of deity

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Tension is currently brewing in the Anaku and Omor communities of Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State following the gruesome murder of a middle-aged farmer, Mr Okoye Tagbo.

Tagbo, who hails from Umuokpanta, Orenja village in Omor community was allegedly killed by suspected youths from Anaku community and was used to allegedly appease the Anaku deity.

Our correspondent gathered that tension escalated in the area following speculations that Omor youths had mobilised themselves to launch a reprisal against the Anaku people over Tagbo’s killing.

While some Anaku residents reportedly fled their homes to avoid being caught, a youth leader from Anaku was said to have gone to the police to lodge a formal complaint.

The police, following the report, swiftly mobilised to the area to restore calm and normalcy.

But for the timely intervention efforts of both the traditional ruler of Omor kingdom, Igwe Chris Chidume and the police command, the crisis would have escalated into a wider dimension.

The two communities have been in crisis over the ownership claims of disputed border farmland.

This unresolved lingering crisis has led to wanton killings, abductions and destruction of lives and properties in both communities, with the recent, being the killing of Tagbo, on January 10, 2022.

Tagbo, who hails from Umuokpanta, Orenja village in Omor community, was said to have gone to his farm close to the disputed farmland near Anaku-Omor boundary to harvest cassava on January 10, 2022 and never returned.

The remains of the deceased were found in a shallow grave near the scene of the attack with head, heart, hands, feet and genitals missing.

According to the deceased’s brother, who identified himself as Ifejika, “My brother who was a widower was declared missing on January 10, 2022 after he went to harvest cassava at his farm but did not return. The matter was reported to the police and we organised a search party and we moved to the farm in search of him till night when we returned home.

“We continued the search with the security agents till January 13, when we saw a shallow grave and his corpse was exhumed with his vital organs missing. It was an indication that he was killed for Anaku deity sacrifice which is done every year.”

Igwe Chidume, who spoke to our correspondent, condemned the frequent abductions and killings in the communities.

He alleged that the killings were mainly for ritual sacrifices to appease a deity.

He said, “This continuous killings in the community is certainly not a welcomed development. I condemn it in totality and so should every well-meaning citizen because it’s an ill wind that blows no one good.

“I am equally using this opportunity to appeal to Anaku community to do away with this their ‘Ekwensu’ deity that is always demanding for human sacrifice. It is not a modern religious practice and this constant killing of people is enough reason for them to abolish it and I am also appealing to the government to consider abolishing the shrine.

“I am asking my subjects, the Ndi-Omor community, to refrain from any revenge attack and hand over everything to God, including investigation. Nobody should take laws into his hand. It does not pay to do so. Let us have absolute trust in the state government to do justice in this matter.

“To the family that lost their breadwinner, I condole with them and ask them to take heart that God will be with them, while we continue to hope that government will do the needful.”

The police spokesman, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, who confirmed the incident, said some names of the alleged killers, who were at large, have been given to the police command by the community leaders and the police were on their trail.

Tochukwu said, “Some persons have given us information which we are working on and I can assure you that anyone mentioned will be invited and questioned.

“Some youths in the Omor community tried to carry out a reprisal against the Anaku community, but the police were able to quickly mobilise to the area to restore calm. Everything is under normalcy now and our men have been stationed in the area.

“We are leaving no stone unturned in the ongoing investigation in the area. Meanwhile, the operation is still ongoing. Further details shall be communicated please.”

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