· As Police release 6 out of 26 persons detained in connection with banditry at Orsu
What happened at Orsu LGA of Imo State recently where presumably innocent men and youths of the area were said to have been indiscriminately waylaid, arrested and whisked away from their homes and taken to unknown destinations for allegedly being members of the Eastern Security Network ESN, is being replicated at Obor Umutanze and other neighbouring communities in Orlu L.G.A of Imo State, where youths are said to be disappearing in droves without trace.
A community leader from the area who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity said, security operatives dressed in mufti stormed the areas which have become a war zone and arrested thirty youths.
“On the second day, they also arrested over twenty people, while an innocent boy was shot and rushed to the hospital.
Responding to a question, the source said, “I can’t actually say if they are security operatives because they were dressed in mufti. As I speak to you, there are practically no activities whatsoever in the community. People have abandoned their homes out of fear and uncertainty to take refuse in places they consider safe.
It would be recalled that the palace of the traditional ruler of the community, HRH, Eze Engr Raph Ekezie and other houses were razed down by bandits.
A police source who pleaded anonymity said, “the operatives are now in search of specific people unlike in the past when they arrested people indiscriminately. The suspects are now profiled at the points of arrest. Those confirmed to be innocent are promptly released while those with skeletons in their cupboards are whisked away for thorough investigation.
He posited that the war against banditry and related vices in Orlu and environ is gradually being won in the Orlu axis.
“Mistakes may have been made in the past but with the present machinery in place, those mistakes are gradually being corrected.”
It would be recalled that hundreds of Orsu women in a bid to draw the State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma’s attention to the indiscriminate arrest, detention and in some case the inexplicable disappearance of their sons and husbands, on Wednesday, December, 29, 2021 embarked on a protest march along some major roads in Owerri Municipal Council.
The women who took off from Freedom Square brandished placards with inscriptions such as, “Governor Uzodinma, please release our sons and husbands”, Orsu Ihiteukwa women, ask for justice, “we say no to unlawful arrest of Orsu Ihiteukwa sons” among others, presented an open letter to the governor.
The letter dated December, 29, 2021 with the caption “RE: WRONGFUL ARREST OF SOME INNOCENT SONS OF ORSU-IHITEUKWA BY JOINT TASK FORCE (JTF) ON 13th DAY OF DECEMBER 2021. A PASSIONATE PLEA FOR THEIR RELEASE” stated that “We the concerned women of Orsu-Ihitukwa Community in Orsu L.G.A of Imo State wish to humbly and passionately petition you on the wrongful arrest of our sons and husbands by the Joint Task Force on the 13th day of December, 2021.
The joint Task Force (JTF) made up of the Army, Police and Department of State Services (DSS) on the aforementioned date stormed our community Orsu-lhiteukwa very early in the morning breaking into houses and picking up young men some of whom had barely woken- up from sleep. During this raid, iome mothers ‘and wives of these young men were virtually dragging their sons and husbands with the security agents who after overpowering them took away their children and husbands into their combat vans. There were also instances the JTF picked up some other young men on the road as they were virtually parading the whole commune, moving from one place to another.
This operation was carried out amidst heavy shootings by the JTF which scared people in the community and made them scamper for safety.
Sadly, these innocent young men were later paraded as having been arrested in a camp where they use for criminal activities.
We wish to honestly state that some of these boys who were arrested on the said day are innocent and are bonafidc sons of Orsu-Ihiteukwa who were in their various homes and or on their way to their places of work when they were arrested. Ever since the arrest, we the mothers and wives of these Orsu-Ihiteukwa sons have neither seen or heard from them and this situation has further heightened our trauma and heart break as we do not know what is happening to them, whether they are dead or alive and the condition they are subjected to if they are still alive.”
However, out of the twenty six persons arrested at Orsu for allegedly being members of ESN, six persons have been released, namely Chisom Okafor from Etiti, Orsu, Chidera Hyacinth from Ubaha Orsu, Eugene Ofor from Amaigbo Orsu, Chukwunonso from Uda Orsu…