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Gunmen attack Customs checkpoint in Abia



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, few meters away from a naval checkpoint at Umuikaa junction.

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

The fate of the Customs officials on duty could not be immediately ascertained.

One report has it that some of the personnel sustained gunshot injuries, and were taken away by the bandits. Another report had it that the Customs personnel escaped from the scene unhurt.

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

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 for hours on ending while the operation lasted.

Some of the commuters trapped in the attack, spoke of how scary it was being on at that time of the night with as gunshot rented the air.

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

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

People said it was wrong for the Customs to station its officials in the area searching vehicles for contraband goods, after such goods had already been clear at the port by their men.

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