…IPOB set property, houses on fire to compel sit at home – Army
A community in Imo state, Awo Omanma of Oru East, Governor Hope Uzodimma’s LGA was on Monday set on turmoil as unknown gunmen attacked soldiers, killing one, meeting with reprisal attack.
Eyewitness report has it that the military men on getting the news about their slain colleague embarked on a reprisal attack burning down buildings, shops, cars among other properties of the innocent people. The soldiers in a bid to revenge the killing engaged in battles with the villagers, forcing some of them to flee for safety.
This action has sent fear in the community and across the state as the spate of insecurity looms.
It would be recalled that a similar incidence happened some months ago in Oguta LGA of Imo state, particularly in Izombe.
One of the shop owners who lost his wares to fire said, there is need for the security operatives to allow for proper investigations by the relevant authorities before unleashing reprisal attack on innocent citizens.
He noted that the rate the soldiers are going about burning people’s houses could escalate the level insecurity in the state, especially now that the scare of coming out on Monday is dying down.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by Major Abubakar Abdullahi, the Acting Deputy Director Army Public Relations 82 Division Nigerian Army, the IPOB members set ablaze properties of innocent residents to compel them to comply with the sit-at-home order.
“Troops conducting Exercise Golden Dawn have dispersed IPOB/ESN hoodlums carrying out arson while enforcing the illegitimate sit-at-home order imposed by the proscribed group at Awo-Omamma Community, Oru East Local Government Area of Imo State on 22 November 2021.
“In the quest to compel citizens to comply with the unlawful order, IPOB/ESN criminals indulged in harassment, intimidation, and physical abuse of commuters going about their lawful businesses.
The criminals went further to carry out arson and destruction of businesses and homes at Ishieke junction (along Owerri-Onitsha expressway) as a vendetta against the citizens for not complying with the illegal order.
“The hoodlums who had earlier blocked the highway, set ablaze a commercial vehicle heading towards Onitsha. Vigilant troops responding to distress calls by motorists and shop owners swiftly moved to the scene and engaged the hoodlums in a firefight.
The troops overwhelmed the hoodlums forcing them to scamper in different directions.
“The troops pursued the hoodlums to their hideout in Akatta Community in Oru East LGA, where a member of the group was neutralized in the shootout.
While the troops engaged the hoodlums in their hideout, other members of the group who alleged that some individuals had volunteered information to the troops mustered at Ishieke junction and set ablaze houses and businesses of law-abiding citizens.
“The troops again returned to the junction to disperse the hoodlums. Unfortunately, a gallant soldier paid the supreme prize in defence of the people,” the statement by the Nigerian Army read in part.
The military added that there has been an upsurge in criminalities such as kidnapping, carjacking, robbery, unwarranted killing, and arson in Imo State since April 5, 2021, when some unscrupulous elements invaded the Custodial Centre in Owerri and freed more than 1,800 inmates.