Police Abort Kidnap Of 3 Expatriates In Izzi

…Hoodlums Burn Company’s  Hilux Van

Okereke Wilson & Elum Deborah

The three white men  and staff of a popular mining company  “Royal Salt” narrowly escaped being kidnapped by some suspected hoodlums on Wednesday afternoon 30th November, 2022 at Ijoko Community, Izzi LGA of Ebonyi State.

Our reporter who visited the place was told by a resident who did not want to be mentioned that the company workers alongside the three foreigners among whom is an Indian, Mr Anantran Bargahi were carrying out an exploration exercise at the site when suddenly the miscreants reportedly invaded the place to seize the white men but unfortunately for them, they encountered the strong resistance from some security officers attached to the miners.

According to the man, it was around 3:30 pm on the fateful day that the suspected kidnappers stormed the site in their number and began to shoot sporadically to scare the security personnel, an action which resulted to a gun duel between the two parties and on the long run, the people were overwhelmed by the superior fire power as they took to their heels without achieving the evil motive.

He disclosed that the exchange of fire lasted for a reasonable period as if the people were in a war front until a team of police officers from Izzi Divisional Headquarters led by the DPO joined forces with their colleagues and repelled them. But before then, the miscreants had caused havoc by burning the Hilux van belonging to the Royal Salt company.

“Before the said attack, there was no problem in relation to the site as the entire community is in support of the intending mining work. This shows that the major plan of the miscreants was to kidnap the white men for ransome but as God would have it, the same plan was foiled by the tactical security personnel who chased them away without any casualty” he said.

It was learnt that the miners who were already traumatized over the incident were later taken to the Police Headquarters in Abakaliki where they were officially handed over to some senior officers”.

Our effort to get the reaction of the director, Royal Salt Company simply identified as Mr Obi was not successful as the man declined comment when contacted on phone.

In another development, two civilian security men, Mr Jonah Nwite and his collegue whose name was not given, guarding Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office at Iboko in Izzi LGA are said to be undergoing interrogation in the hands of police officers at Ebonyi State Police Headquarters over the burning of the building belonging to the establishment.

It was learnt that on the fateful day of Sundy, November 27, 2022 around 11:00am that the inferno emanating from the locked building was suddenly noticed by some persons who raced to the scene so they could salvage the property but unfortunately the people’s intention was dashed following the barricade by the two guards who were not seen during the incident.

A resident of the area, Mr Silvernus Onyibe told us that the exact cause of the fire was unknown as there was no physical attack associated with the incident before the fire was seen blazing, adding that it took over fifteen minutes before the police men from Izzi Divisional police Headquarters led by their Divisional Police Officer (DPO) CSP (Dr) Nwenyim Livinus could break into the premises through the help of some welders.

“Before the fire was seen inside INEC office no iota of attack was noticed in the area but the sympathizers source of worry was the  whereabouts of the two security guards who were equally in possession of the office keys at that period of the incident” he said

He disclosed that the particular incident on the recently renovated structure was the third time that the same office had undergone a similar problem adding that the building itself, all the sensitive and non sensitive materials and other valuables therein were completely destroyed by the fire.

Another source who pleaded anonymity claimed that the reason for the arrest of Mr Nwite and his colleague was to enable police get useful information about the incident mostly as the two men had allegedly left duty posts for an unknown place.

We gathered that some of the damaged items include: 340 ballot boxes, 130 voting cubicles, 14 electric power generators, water storage tanks, assorted sets of furniture and fixtures and yet to be ascertained quantities of permanent voters’ cards (PVCS).

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