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VIGILANTES ACCUSED OF RAPING PREGNANT WOMAN

By NBF News
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Three vigilance group operatives in Anambra State who allegedly raped and detained a seven-month-old pregnant woman will be arraigned in court next Monday by the police.

The trio, Messrs Onyeka Chukwudelu, Nonso Igwemezie and Onyeka Mbatuegwu who are members of the Umuatuegwu Vigilante Unit, Okija were said to have confronted the woman, while on her way from snail hunting, arrested and raped her, leading to her having a premature delivery.

Confirming the arrest, conclusion of investigation and plan to arraign the suspects, the Assistant Commissioner of Police, in charge of Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Mr. Mike Okoli told Daily Sun that the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Philemon Leha, had directed that the suspects be arraigned in court.

The command went into the matter following a petition to the Commissioner of Police by Mr. Obiora Udeoba, the counsel to the woman and her husband, in which he alleged a case of robbery, rape, extortion, stealing, gun running etc, against about five members of the vigilance group. In the petition dated June 6, 2010, Udeoba stated, among others things : 'That on the 3rd day of June 2010, she went for snail hunting in their village bush/farmland and was confronted by the aforementioned suspects masquerading as vigilance group, who arrested and/or held her, naked her and tied her backward with her wrapper and took turn to rape her, after which they still seized her.

'That when her husband could not see her as she failed to come back early as usual he went in search of her, and these hoodlums caught and seized him equally and only left him after beating him and shooting indiscriminately into the air and collected all his money.

'That the woman was tied for about four hours before she was eventually left but not after she had been raped.

'That she was taken to hospital for treatment where due to the pressure and force from being raped she under false labour put to bed and delivered a premature baby. Till date, she is still in the hospital receiving treatment.

'That the suspects are terrorizing the entire area in the name of vigilance group. The police formation in Ihiala is aware, and if you report them or any of them, before you get to your house, they are there before you to cause more havoc/ harm.

'That our investigation at the office of the chairman/co-ordinator, Anambra State Vigilante Service at police area command, Awka have proved that there is Umuatuegwu Vigilante Unit, Okija but that the suspects are not registered members of the Vigilante Unit except one of them by name Sampson Okwuosa and that they are not allowed to carry guns/arms as none was approved for them.'

'Sir, we are humbly applying that the acts of this monstrous group amount to serious crime (capital offence) that r

equired serious and specialised handling like men of Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) or Awkuzu. May the law take its cause.' However, further confirming the directive of the CP to arraign the suspects, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Emeka Chukwuemeka, said the suspects would be arraigned.

He, however, said the woman was not raped, stressing, 'There was no rape. And those guys are the vigilante men that have been working there. What happened according to the information I have was that the vigilante men on night patrol saw this group of women coming back from snail hunting and asked them to kneel down.

'Others obeyed but the woman in question because she was eight months pregnant refused to kneel. So they tied her with rope till the next day and after two days she gave birth to a premature baby. She is responding to treatment in hospital so also the child. 'They were brought to be interviewed by the CP yesterday and he directed that they be arraigned because of what they did'.

He further said the CP had asked the DPO to make fresh list for the vigilante unit.