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Gunmen attack Customs checkpoint in Abia, operational vehicle burnt, personnel’s whereabouts unknown



From Okey Sampson, Umuahia

Gunmen on Thursday night attacked the Customs checkpoint at Umuikaa Junction in Isiala Ngwa South local government area of Abia State, along the Enugu/Port Harcourt Expressway.

This is even as the whereabouts of the Customs personnel could not be immediately ascertained.

The attacked which occurred at about 8pm, happened less than one kilometre from the Naval Base in Owerrinta and few meters away from a Naval checkpoint on Umuikaa junction.

It was gathered that the gunmen who burnt the operational patrol van of the Cuntoms personnel, and equally shot and injured a passenger of an ash-coloured 18-seater commercial bus ran into them.

The fate of the Customs officials on duty could not be immediately ascertained.
One report has it that some of the Custom personnel on duty sustained gun shot injuries and where taken away by the bandits, another report had it that the custom personnel escaped from the scene unhurt.

The injured passenger of the commercial bus was reportedly rushed to a nearby hospital where the victim was stabilized and treated.

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Reports from the area said it took the efforts of soldiers from 144 Battalion, Asa in Ukwa West local government area and the Forward Operation Base (FOB), Aba, led by Major Hassan Biu to dislodge the gunmen after operating for over an hour.

Commuters were stranded on both ends of the expressway, as they waited hours on end while the operation lasted.

Some of the commuters trapped in the attack, spoke of how scary it was being on the road in the dark of the night for over an hour with booming gunshot sounds.

They praised the soldiers for their efforts in dislodging the hoodlums who they claimed have made life unbearable for commuters and people living along the area.

Unconfirmed report has it that one of the gunmen was arrested by soldiers during the operation.

There have been public outcry over the presence of Customs personnel in the area.

People were if the view it was wrong for Customs to station its officials in the area to be searching vehicles for contraband goods, when such goods had been clear at the Port by their men.

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