.Imo killings

By Chidi Nkwopara

Orsuihiteukwa people in Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State, have narrated their side of the mayhem, unleashed by the military, in their community.

Narrating the ordeal to newsmen in Owerri, yesterday, the community’s attorney, Mr. Chidi Ibekaeme, said: “We lost everything, including our youths, our homes, our heritage and our market. What have we done to deserve this level of destruction?

“It is with a deep sense of agony that we gather here to mourn the destruction of our community, in the light of sustained military attacks, the bombing of our communities, killing of defenceless civilians and youths and destruction of Eke Ututu market.

“The net worth of the market is over N100 billion in goods and property. We have borne the pains, anguish and losses occasioned by the incessant bombardment of various segments of Orsuihiteukwa by a combined team of security operatives with equanimity, hoping that the hostilities would end one day.”

He recalled that the community’s ordeal started on February 17, 2022, at 4p.m.“when military Hilux vans, carrying combatant soldiers, armoured tanks and helicopter gunships, in war-like fashion, stormed the community, unleashing sporadic bombardments, along the community’s Lilu and Orsumoghu border, destroying houses and killed two men and one girl.”

Saying that the community has not known peace thereafter, the lawyer added that the invasion has led to the loss of human lives, the burning of houses and business concerns.

His words: “September 13, 2021, witnessed an unprecedented attack on the people, which culminated in the killing of three defenceless young men, 18-year-old Chima Nchoje, from Eziama, Chima Dike and his brother, from Ihiteukwa.

“As if September 13, 2021, was not enough, security operatives launched yet another attack on innocent people, killing and burning down houses and shops along the Orsumoghu road in USA and Ihiteukwa.”

After giving a graphic account of how, on November 5, 2021, Scholar Orsuamaeze, Obinna Nwanoneze and two others, who were returning from the church, were killed, Ibekaeme, expressed regret that the tempo increased when a joint military task force, DSS, police and Ebubeagu operatives struck the community again, December 13, 2021.

His words: “They went to the residence of the one-time sole administrator of Orsu LGA, Williams Ezeasor, killed him in a most gruesome manner, raided houses and took away over 32 youths, who were later tagged cannibals, found in a dungeon with human parts.

“Following protests by the mothers, wives and sisters of the abducted youths on December 29, 2021, six were released three days after the protest, while 27 others were released much later, leaving two men, including Chukwuebuka Obinokwara, till date.”

Ibekaeme also recalled that Nonso Izuegbu and Ugochukwu Obianeli, were mowed down in their block moulding site on Eke Ututu-Awo Idemili road.

The lawyer said: “Also eliminated on that day, was Mr Nicholas Onwuanagbule from Ihuowerri Ubahaorsu, who was killed while pleading with soldiers not to burn his electrical materials shop.

“From the foregoing, you can appreciate the level of devastation, colossal loss of human and material resources, inflicted on the community.

“Our soil has been soaked in the blood of our youths. The air has been polluted with smoke from burnt structures, including human bodies. Our youths have fled the community for fear of being killed.

“Women have suddenly become childless, widows, ailing and dead. There is no doubt that our community is profusely bleeding on all fronts. The consequence of this unholy assault on our land is that our children are disoriented and some elders have died in anguish, without hope of burial by their children.”

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