By Nwamkpa Modestus (KSM)
As iam writing this piece, over twenty houses of different shapes and sizes are reported to be on fire at Umuokwu village, Aborshi Autonomous Community, Izombe in Oguta LGA. They are on fire arising from a crisis that spiked off today between some youths of the area and Soldiers. Sadly and most unfortunately is that the houses that were burnt and looted mostly belong to the innocent people who were neither part of the problem nor involved in whatever that led to the carnage. My heart bleeds heavily for the affected families who lost their properties and their children. I also sympathize with the military whose two personnel were murdered. This is unacceptable and most barberic!
Though, the whole story that led to the problem is still sketchy but the gist had it that there was an issue between two factions of the boys involved in Oil deals at the community resulting in one of the faction inviting the military against the other faction. The problem, my source said had to do with leadership tussle amongst them. The unconfirmed report intoned that the military upon arrival at the scene in the village called Umuokwu in Izombe community allegedly ordered the boys from the opposition faction to lie down and they allegedly began to torture the boys. Suddenly, one of the boys undergoing the military torture got up and started running in a bid to escape from the military manhandling resulting in one of the Soldiers shooting at him and he died instantly.
Consequently, the youths of the area got enraged on hearing about the death of the young man and temper rose . Meanwhile, the Soldiers were reported to have abandoned the dead guy and fled to the house of the Traditional Rulers HRH Eze P Muforo after they reported killing. The Youths of the area mobilized in their numbers and went to the Eze’s house where they confronted the Soldiers and in the cause of the melee, two Soldiers were reportedly killed and their Riffles taken away by the boys while some Soldiers were said to have narrowly escaped unhurt. The Military Van was set ablaze.
In return, Soldiers regrouped and stormed Izombe razing and burning down houses as the residents of the community ran away. Again, after the incident in the morning, the military returned to Izombe this evening apparently to carry out another round of represial attack but this time Maj Gen Kalu Egwuagu (Rtd), an Indegene of the area was said to have intervened and stopped the Soldiers from carrying out further attacks in the community.
However, the Soldiers threatened to continue to carry out further attacks untill their Riffles which they claimed were taken away from the killed military personnel are returned. So this is the story in my possession as at the time of writing this story.
However, be that as it way, the entire situation is unfortunate as it is regrettable. I do not want to apportion blame yet until a full investigation is undertaken and the cause of the problem is fully ascertained but the truth is that the damage caused is one too many. Again, the lives lost are irredeemable. I therefore sue for peace and call on the Military high command to withdraw their men and stop them from carrying out further mayhem on the communiry.
Equally, those in possession of the military riffle, if true, should endeavour to return them. The government should also consider setting up a Panel of enquiry to ascertain the whole truth and the extent of the damages with the view to addressing the situation timeously. Please let temper be calmed and let everybody sheath their sword. Two wrongs cannot make a right.
Truthfully Yours, Nwamkpa Modestus is my name and I approve of this sad piece.