By Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
Vigilance operatives from Amanator Okporo Community in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State, have foiled an attempt by gunmen to abduct an Italy-based businessman, Prince Valentino Ibenye-Ugbala, inside St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Okporo.
Hoodlums, in another attack, unleashed terror on the interim management chairman of Njaba LGA, Emeka Iheanacho, leaving him hospitalized.
The Nation gathered that the Okporo kidnap incident which occurred around 11.30 am inside the church on Sunday January 3, caused tension in the area as the gunmen dispossessed Valentino of cash and other valuables.
The hoodlums shot sporadically forcing shop owners in front of the church and nearby Orie Okporo market as well as motorists to scamper to safety for fear of being hit by stray bullets.
A village source told The Nation that the vigilance men, who were alerted by strange movements in front of the church, blocked all suspected exit routes in the community but the gunmen escaped towards Akata Road.
Narrating his ordeal, Valentino, who hails from Amanator Okporo, in Orlu L.G.A, said: “As I drove inside the church premises with my sister’s daughter in search of a parking space, I noticed some boys on a motorcycle entered the car park. Suddenly four other motorcycles also came into the car park, instead of the place made for motorcycles to park. All the motorcycles had no plate/ identification numbers. One of them jumped down and pointed a gun at me and ordered me to quietly follow them or they would shoot at me. It was then I realized that they were kidnappers.
“I tried to attract attention but no one came. When I refused to follow them, they pounced on me, tore my clothes, heat the butt of their guns on my head repeatedly, collected my two phones, wrist watch, neckless, and cash of N1.150m and eight hundred and fifty dollars ($850).
“I managed to run into the church auditorium and they followed me inside the church for more than one hour. When the church called the police, they all ran away before their (police) arrival leaving one of their motorcycles behind.”
He said it was the Amanator vigilance group and a special squad from the police, and DCP, Benneth Igwe from Akatta who sent his boys to rescue and take him to the hospital where he was still to receiving treatment.
The Interim Chairman of Njaba LGA, Emeka Iheanacho, was also attacked in the same Okporo Community where he had gone to be with a friend.
The Nation learned that the hoodlums who attacked him were operating on motorcycles.
They were said to have double-crossed his vehicle and ordered him out of his car, snatching his phones, cash, watch and other valuables in his car, while beating the chairman to stupor.
Spokesman of the state police command, Orlando Ikeokwu was not available for comments, but a senior police officer, who preferred anonymity, confirmed the incidents.
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