There is panic in the Ebenebe community, Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State, as hoodlums suspected to be cultists invaded the palace of the traditional ruler, Igwe Christopher Nnaegbune, and that of his subjects, vandalising and destroying properties worth about N25m.
The incident is coming barely five months after a suspected cult group had attacked and killed about 20 persons during a burial ceremony in the community.
The incident, it was gathered, occured between midnight on Monday, but no life was lost.
A source said the hoodlums who came in large numbers attacked the palace while the monarch and his subjects were asleep, shooting sporadically in the air. No reason was given for the attack.
The source said, “Hoodlums numbering about 100 invaded the palace of the traditional ruler of Ebenebe, around midnight on Monday. The Igwe had gone to sleep. They came prepared for war; some were beating Ogene (metal gongs), while others shot sporadically in the air.
“When no one could open the gate for them, they forced it open, using their clubs and other dangerous weapons. However, they met no one outside the premises. After making noise, they left.”
The hoodlums were said to have visited the compound of one late Chief Okoye at Obuno village, in search of a youth leader, identified as Mr Chukwujekwu Okoye, during which they vandalised aluminum doors, windows, chairs, generating set and other properties in the two buildings in the compound.
Although there was no information to show why the attack was launched on both people, a source, who claimed to be awake when the incident occured, said he overheard the hoodlums saying they came to kill a member of the family, Mr Chukwujekwu Okoye.
The eyewitness said Chukwujekwu, who happens to be the Chairman of the Obuno Village Youth, always used security men to chase away hoodlums from the community, and the monarch was also against their nefarious activities, a situation that angered them.
A member of the family, Mr Festus Okoye, said he narrowly escaped death on the day of the incident, as the hoodlums, on discovering that he was inside one of the rooms with his family, ordered them to come out.
“Our life is in danger. When they forced our entrance gate open, they went around our compound, destroying all the alumaco glasses and doors to see if there are people inside any of the rooms.
“It was in the process that they discovered that I was inside with my wife and my child. They ordered us to come outside. But I pleaded with them. On hearing my voice, they said ‘Oh he is a man of God, let us leave him.’ That was how they spared my family,” Okoye stated.
Corroborating this, Mr Chukwujekwu Okoye, who has gone into hiding since the incident, said he had reported the matter to the police, and called for the intervention of the state government, saying his life and those of his family were in danger because the hoodlums were still threatening to kill him.
When contacted, the traditional ruler of Ebenebe, Igwe Christopher Nnaegbune, admitted that there was an attack on his palace by hoodlums on the said date, but promised to provide details later.
Also, the state Police Command’s spokesman, Tochukwu Ikenga, in his reaction said he has not received any report or information on the attack.