Imo killings: Soldiers burn buildings, residents flee

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Residents of Oriendu, Umualumaku Umueze, Ehime Mbano Local Government Area, Imo State, are currently fearful for their lives following an alleged invasion and destruction of property by security personnel presumed to be military.

The armed men’s invasion of the community happened a day after gunmen killed and burnt ablaze some soldiers, police officers, and members of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps in two patrol cars in the neighbourhood on Tuesday.

A video seen by one of our correspondents showed the damage of community property, even as the announcer claimed that the act was committed by armed personnel.

Residents in the vicinity were said to be afraid for their lives and to have witnessed the burning of houses.
The individual who talked in the video bemoaned the fact that they were being penalised for something they had no knowledge of.

According to a video, the rioting troops seeking punishment for their colleagues allegedly razed multiple shops, buildings, homes, food shops, and pubs.

The tranquil village’s roadways were deserted after the military allegedly inflicted havoc on the town, with only a handful of countable people whose properties were demolished visible.

According to the video, numerous boxes of alcoholic beverages were destroyed, several prison stores were set ablaze, and some shops containing pots, dishes, and chairs were also damaged.

The narrator urged Nigerians to look into the community’s harsh treatment.

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“We have suffered in this community,” he remarked. What do they want us to do in this neighbourhood? The fact that a crime was committed in this neighbourhood does not imply that it was perpetrated by Ehime Mbano people. You folks should come to our aid. Nigerian military personnel burned down shops, bars, event centres, and food vendors today.

“Were the people who destroyed their shops the ones who committed the crime?” Please leave us alone since we are in distress in this neighbourhood. People are sobbing and wondering, “What did we do?”

The presenter of the film said that some of the community’s indigenous members had escaped into the bush.

According to a resident of Ehime Mbano who sells building materials in the neighbourhood, the stores and other property destroyed by soldiers belonged to innocent individuals who had no knowledge of Tuesday’s incident.

“The destruction of some shops and drinking joints today in Ehime Mbano by soldiers is not necessary,” claimed the local, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation. Pap vendors’ stores and tents were destroyed.

“They should investigate, arrest those responsible for the soldiers’ deaths, and bring them to justice, rather than torching traders’ shops and buildings.”

“The whole place is on fire; I had to close my shop and leave to avoid a disaster.” The overwhelming military presence along the road is concerning.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has denied any involvement in any attack or destruction of stores, including drinking establishments and restaurants, in Ehime Mbano, Imo State, in the aftermath of the horrible death of some security personnel in the Umualumaku community on Tuesday.

In a phone interview, Joseph Akubo, Assistant Director, Army Public Relations Officer, 34 Artillery Brigade, Obinze, stated he was unaware of any destruction by the force’s personnel in the region.

“Did military men come to destroy?” Let’s be clear about what you’re asking. That is not something I am aware of. We don’t have any information on this.

“Unfortunately, everyone is doing whatever they want, but the military is not conducting any operations around there right now.” I recommend that you speak with the Police PRO.

“I believe you should consult with the police; they are in charge of internal security.” They should be the ones to stand up about whatever is going on.”

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In addition, Brig. Gen. Tukur Gusau, Director of Defence Information, stated that he was unaware of the occurrence.

When one of our reporters called him, he responded, “I am not aware.”

In a related event, Olukayode Egbetokun, the acting Inspector-General of Police, stated that the Nigeria Police Force was dedicated to inter-agency coordination in order to find those responsible for the recent deaths of security officers in Imo State.

In a statement issued by the Force’s Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, in response to the unfortunate loss on Wednesday, the IG stated that the Nigeria Police will leave no stone unturned in order to apprehend those responsible for the killings.

While expressing condolences to the officers’ friends, families, and relatives, Egbetokun also requested anyone with relevant information about the tragedy to contact the police so that their investigation might be aided.

Meanwhile, Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma and Labour Party governorship candidate Athan Achonu for the November 11 governorship election in the state have denounced the killing of security officers in the state on Tuesday.

Uzodimma and Achonu both called the killing as heinous in separate comments.

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