Three masquerades and one person have been arrested by the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Anambra State police command, attached to Neni Police Division, Anaocha Local Government Area, following a violent clash, which erupted between some Christians and Uke indigenes during the Uzo-Iyi festival of the town held at the weekend.
It was gathered also that over 20 vehicles belonging to worshippers at Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry, owned by Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Obimma, (Ebube Muonso) were damaged beyond recognition by irate youths during the festival.
According to inside sources, the Uke community has reportedly warned the church to always respect the festival day by shifting its prayer session held every Friday, whenever it coincides with the celebration of the yearly Uzo-Iyi festival, but the warning was not heeded.
However, this year’s Uzo-Iyi coincided with the Friday prayer session of the Adoration Ministry, and youths of the community in anger started harassing, intimidating, and assaulting members of the church, which resulted in free-for-all fight and in the process scores were injured and over 20 vehicles damaged.
As the clash progressed, men of the SARS stormed the scene and arrested three masquerades while soldiers attached to the 302 Military Regiment, Onitsha, who also arrived the scene arrested one person believed to be operating with the masquerades.
At the time of filing this report, the youths of the community were seen in groups, vowing to sack the Adoration Ministry over the arrest and whisking away of their three masquerades by the police describing it as abomination. The youths threatened fire and brimstone.
Confirming the clash, the Ogidi Divisional Police Officer, Mr. Mark Ijarafu, declined comments and referred The Guardian to the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nkiru Nwude for details.