By Emma Ugwueze
Enugu — THE mood of joy and celebration during a naming ceremony at Joseph Akpoko Street, Udi-Side, Enugu, yesterday gave way to tears as men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, (SARS) allegedly stormed the occasion and shot sporadically, killing one and wounding two others in the process.
One of the victims, identified as Chineme Ede, 15, was allegedly killed instantly by the squad. Obumneme Nwedu, 5, and Larry Nwankwor, 30, sustained serious bullet wounds.
An eye witness, Mr. Stephen Ede, said that the incident happened at the peak of the naming of their caretaker’s new born baby, when men of special anti-robbery squad invaded the area and started shooting at the crowd.
He said: ‘When we heard gunshots, we all ran inside the house for safety; but looking behind, I saw my younger brother, Chineme Ede, lying helpless on the ground in a pool of his own blood. I was then forced to turn back.
‘Behind where I stood, I saw two persons, Mr. Larry Nwankwor, our caretaker whom we gathered in celebration of his new baby’s naming, and little Obumneme Nwedu seriously wounded by bullet from men of the SARS.’
It was learnt that residents who got annoyed regrouped to ascertain what informed the action of the police officers. They were, however reportedly dispersed by another round of shootings from the SARS men.
Another witness, Mr. George Igbokwe alleged that the police had after the incident arrested four persons, three boys and a girl to cover up the crime.
‘What we saw here today is the apex of human rights abuse; it is inhuman and unjust killing. We are demanding from the police an explanation on the barbaric act we witnessed here. Is shooting of innocent people now part of their job of crime in society?
‘The worst of it all is that they arrested the relation of the deceased in order to justify the killing,’ Igbokwe said.
Further enquiries revealed that the two wounded persons were taken to hospital by their relatives.
However, effort to obtain comments from the Police Public Relations Officer, Enugu State Command, ASP Ebere Amarizu, was futile as he would not answer calls put to him neither did he respond to test messages sent to his mobile phone.