Tension has enveloped the sleepy village of Akabor, Ahiara in Ahiazu Local Government Area of Imo State after 45-year-old Bernard Anyanwu beheaded his only son, Chikaodi, in a forest on Wednesday.
The incident, a reminiscent of the infamous "Otokoto" saga of Owerri, has sparked off fear and apprehension as some Akabor residents have started fleeing home for fear of being arrested.
The Otokoko saga emerged from the killing of one master Ikechukwu Okonkwo for rituals, which triggered a chain of violent protests in Owerri in 1996. Indigenes of Owerri, particularly the youths, women and children, took to the streets en masse to burn and destroy property believed to belong to suspected ritual killers who are today referred to as the Otokoto Seven.
The fearful Otokoto drama reached its peak in 1997, when about six men were publicly executed by firing squad over alleged armed robbery charges and ritual killings. Those executed were: Obidiozor Duru, Chidi Onuoha and Amanze Onuoha (brothers); Collins Ndulaka, Sydney Onyechege and Mac Donald Ebere. Former Military Governor of Imo State, Colonel Tanko Zubairu (rtd), quickly signed their death warrants in an effort to rid the state of the rising cases of suspected ritual killings.
In the latest case, police sources said the wife of the suspect, Charity, has already made a statement at the Ahiazu Police Station and that the suspect, a motor mechanic, is now being detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) in Owerri, the state capital.
An eyewitness account narrated that Anyanwu had told the wife that he wanted their only son, aged 13, to accompany him to the nkporo (local name for the village's forest) near a river to fetch some woods for the repair of their dilapidated building.
But the suspect later returned from the forest allegedly carrying a cellophane bag containing human flesh with blood dripping down.
Confronted by an insane man on arrival to the village, the suspect was said to have rebuffed the insane man and proceeded home where, with the combined efforts of the insane man and another drunkard, the villagers were alerted .
The suspect was said to have overpowered those that initially came to arrest him on discovery of what the two men were raising alarm for. He was however arrested on Thursday, 24 hours after the incident by the police and Akabor vigilante group.
A native of the town who sought anonymity said Anyanwu once suffered from insanity and that a similar incident occurred in the same family two years ago.
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