Police rescue attempt raises tension in Aba

An attempt by Policemen at Aba Area Command in Abia on Thursday to rescue a policeman facing alleged assault by some residents raised tension in the commercial hub, Police have confirmed.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, confirmed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Aba.

“A policeman that was travelling in a tricycle as a passenger was being attacked by some people because the tricycle he was travelling on hit a Siena car from behind.

“In a little altercation, they discovered he was a policeman and somebody assaulted him and others were gathering around him.

“Noticing the situation, he had to call for rescue and our people went and rescued him. That’s what happened. There is nothing to panic about. Everything is under control now,” he said.

NAN reports that there is heavy security in the city as soldiers are stationed at major roads including Asa Road by Mosque St opposite Milverton Ave. and Park Road.

They compelled commuters to raise their hands while passing the checkpoints apparently for fear of attacks.

The entire Okwunauka Street, from the Central Police Station (CPS) gate off St. Michael’s Road to the entrance of Jubilee Road spare parts market were all blocked.

The police also blocked Aba High Court Street down to Hospital Road electrical market, Jubilee Road and St. Joseph’s St off Aba General Hospital Road that connects Eziukwu Road.

According to the PPRO, the barricading of roads in Aba linking the Aba Area Command and Central Police Station was in the bid to stave off any possible attacks from unknown gangs’ attacks.

NAN reports that about 8 am on Thursday, heavy gunshots rent the air within the precincts of Aba Police Area Command leading to residents scampering for their lives.

The shooting spree which lasted for hours raised the tension of the city that had been on edge following government-imposed curfew and suspicion of possible attacks on the city’s security outfits.

Abia government had on Tuesday imposed a curfew on four major towns of Abia including Aba and Umuahia following fears that hoodlums who attacked Imo security outfits at the weekend could hit Abia next.

However, in a reaction to the shootings, a resident, Dr Charles Chinekezi, the Chairman of Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) told NAN that what happened and what the policemen in Aba did on Thursday was uncalled for.

He said the shooting and tear-gassing of residents by the police in the name of rescue operation from persons not armed raised tensions in the city at a period security agency should support calmness.

He warned governours of the South-East zone to check every move by anybody to make their states ungovernable and to nip it in the bud or regret their mistakes at last.

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