Police arrest 26 suspects over Ebonyi killings

Police in Ebonyi State said on Monday that they have arrested at least 26 persons in connection with the crisis and killings that took place on 26 December at Ekoli-Edda Community in Afikpo South Local Government Area of the state.

A police inspector was killed during the crisis which occurred because of a clash between the supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) State Chairperson, Stanley Emegha, and the party’s House of Representatives candidate for Afikpo North and Afikpo South Federal Constituency, Eni Uduma.

A youth leader in the community identified as Eseni Egwu and Eme Orji, the younger brother to the APC chairperson, were also killed in the clash.

The police spokesperson in the state, Chris Anyanwu, told reporters at a press briefing in Abakaliki that besides the arrest, the police had recovered one AK-47 rifle and live ammunition, two pump action rifles, one Dane gun, three AK-47 magazines amongst others.

Mr Anyanwu confirmed that the property destroyed during the incident includes a residential building belonging to Ebonyi APC chairperson, Mr Emegha, a Toyota Hilux truck and one motorcycle.

He said the others were a Toyota Sienna bus, one grocery shop, doors, and windows.

The police spokesperson said they would arraign 14 out of the 26 suspects.

“They would be arraigned as prima facie cases of conspiracy, armed robbery, arson, unlawful possession and malicious damage have been established against them.

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“The command is advising the youth from all communities and clans in Ebonyi to learn positive lessons from the ill-fated incident of December 26 that befell Ekoli-Edda and guard against its replication,” Mr Anyanwu added.

It is unclear for now if the two principal figures – Messrs Emegha and Uduma – in the clash are among the arrested suspects.

Mr Emegha, who is also a security consultant to the Ebonyi State Government, is in charge of the Ebubeagu, a security outfit that is backed by the state government.

His rival, Mr Uduma, is a former chairperson of the local government council who finished his second term in August last year.

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Both are loyalists of the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi. They hail from the community but have been political foes for a long time.

Mr Umahi shortly after the incident ordered the arrest of Messrs Emegha and Uduma.

The police spokesperson, Mr Anyanwu, in his initial statement in December said the two politicians had been “placed in protective custody to douse the tension in the area”.

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