Fifteen persons said to be indigenes of Niger Republic, on Thursday, were rescued from being attacked by angry youths in Oru, Ahiazu Mbaise local government area of Imo state.
According to the State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Orlando Ikeokwu, in Owerri, said that the planned attack was a result of false alarm labelling them as Fulani herdsmen.
As captured by Vanguard from the PPRO, that the Niger Republic indigenes have lived in the area for five years in a petrol station on the consent of the owner of the place.
He further said that it was discovered that they were labourers engaged in digging pit toilets.
However, the police said that as a result fear of being attacked that the indigenes of Niger Republic, fled citing the angry youths.
At the moment that seven were found and now in the police custody that they will be moved to the Nigerian immigration service.
The police said: “The Imo State Police Command has been notified of the news making the rounds on various social media platforms that some Fulani Herdsmen are camping somewhere in Oru, Ahiazu Mbaise, in preparation to attack some communities within the said location.
“On the receipt of the information, the DPO led a team of policemen in search of the said people, and they were traced to a petrol station in Oru, Ahaizu Mbaise, where he met about Fifteen (15) men led by one Haruna Isa, 73 years old.
“Contrary to earlier identities of the men identified as herdsmen, they were discovered to be Hausas from the Niger Republic. Upon interrogation, they claimed to have resided in Imo State for the past five years moving from one village to another.”
He pointed out that “They also claimed to be labourers who engage in digging pit toilets across villages, various implements used for the said purpose were found on them, they, however, claimed to have camped in the petrol station with the consent of the owner.
“The said owner of the station when contacted said he gave them his consent to stay there so that they can stay and also provide security for his facility as well.
“In view of the above, the divisional police officer detailed a patrol team to remain on standby at the petrol station to forestall any possible break down of law and order, while he moved into the town to sensitize members of the public of his findings and also to calm them down.”
He continued: “However while sensitizing the members of the communities, the DPO received a distress call from the patrol team that youths numbering about One Hundred (100) with different offensive weapons invaded the fuel station trying to attack and possibly kill the people but met the resistance from the team detailed to be at the petrol station.
“The DPO on arrival at the scene, discovered that some of the people had fled the scene in fear, he then moved into the community for search and rescue, of which he rescued about seven (7) Hausas, and then took all of them to the police station for safety, while efforts are on to move them to the Nigeria Immigration Service for further action.
“The command, therefore, wishes to state that the news that there is war in Ahiazu Mbaise is not only false but baseless, misleading and mischievous as no one was neither attacked, injured nor killed. It is simply a case of false alarm and the situation has been arrested and normalcy was restored to the said environment.”