By Peter Okutu, ABAKILIKI
No fewer than five youths were allegedly killed while many were injured by operatives of a local unit of Ebubeagu security outfit, in Amasiri, in the Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Some of the injured persons were alleged to have been taken to Abakaliki by security operatives from a hospital in Afikpo, where they are said to be receiving treatment.
Vanguard gathered that the security operatives were said to have arrived in five Toyota Sienna vehicles in Amaebor, Ohaechara village square in Amasiri, and opened fire on the youth for allegedly sealing off a Lebanese-owned quarry company, Conrock.
Survivor explains what happened
A young man, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that they had assembled at the square to share a monetary gift from the management of Conrock for unsealing the company when the operatives arrived.
The source added that the youths were also deliberating on how to honour invitations hitherto sent to them by the Afikpo Divisional Police Command and the Area Command for sealing the company.
“We were expected to appear before the Area Command and the division on Monday (yesterday) and Tuesday (today) before Ebubeagu people came and started shooting at us for engaging them in an argument.
“We told them we had reached an agreement with the company and that we had unsealed the company.
“Their management even gave something in appreciation for our peaceful conduct. So we are at a loss as to why Ebubeagu people came to shoot some of us.
“One of those shot died on the way to the hospital while two others died while receiving treatment.”
Another source added that one other youth died Saturday morning from wounds he sustained from gunshots.
He said that “Some of those injured were taken away by security men from the hospital where they were being attended to, to Abakaliki the following day (Sunday).”
The source explained that the youths, before sealing the company accused the management of foot-dragging on the rehabilitation of a four-kilometre road in Amaebor and the naming of their Community Liaison Officer, CLO.
“We know that the Ebubeagu operatives were invited by the said political officers because they wanted the CLO to be appointed from another village in Ohaechara instead of Amaebor that the post is zoned to,” the source added.
Reacting, the Consultant to the State Government on Security and Chairman of APC, Chief Stanley Okoro-Emegha, added that a youth was killed when the youths of the community engaged the local Ebubeagu in the area in a shootout.
“Ebubeagu went to the area to know what the problem was. The Youths there stopped the quarry from operating. The Council Chairman went there to beg but they refused all her pleadings.
“When Ebubeagu went there, the youths opened fire on them. It was their leader’s bullet that killed one of them.
“After he killed him, he took him to the mortuary and thereafter he disappeared but he has been arrested by security agencies.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs Loveth Odah, said she didn’t have details of the incident.
“I spoke to the DPO and he said the matter was reported to Headquarters but I am yet to get the person investigating the matter since it happened weekend,” she said.