Imo community accuse soldiers of invasion, arson as locals flee into bush

By Ologeh Joseph Chibu

Hundreds of local residents fled Umuaamulaku Umueze in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State on Wednesday.

The residents accuse armed security officials of invading their community burning down homes.

The area falls within the epicentre of violence on Monday that led to the gruesome murder of soldiers, police and members of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, (NSCDC).

Residents who spoke to Irohinoodua said they were caught unawares on Wednesday when armed men stormed the community burning down structures.

Micheal Onuora, a trader in the community said the villagers have disappeared into the bush. “Some left with their children. Some of the women are pregnant, some are very old. They came in the night and destroyed the community” he said.

According to him, the traditional title holders in the community were not spared. He said it was unprofessional for soldiers to punish innocent civilians for the offense committed by a few miscreants.

Earlier in the week, Nigerians woke to a shocking video of soldiers, policemen and other members of the Joint Task Force in Imo State ambushed by armed guerilla.

The security men were burnt in the vans.

A separatist group in the South East area of Nigeria had been demanding for Biafra. The leader of the group, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, (IPOB) is currently being held in Abuja, the country’s capital following his kidnap from Kenya some two years ago.

A top military officer in Imo who spoke to our correspondent said the Army is not aware of the invasion.

Video clips seen by our correspondent indicated some houses burnt and several shops destroyed.

The State Governor, Hope Uzodinma in a statement “assured the public that those behind the Tuesday killing of security operatives at Ehime Mbano area of Imo State will be fished out and made to face the law.

“When Governor Uzodimma visited the scene of the ugly incident accompanied by the Imo State Commissioner of Police and the Director Department of State Services, he expressed sadness over the lives lost.

“He assured the people that the state government in collaboration with security agencies would fish out the perpetrators with a view to bringing them to book.”

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