Contrary to Governor Hope Uzodinma’s claim that the seven wedding guests killed last Sunday by a Government sponsored vigilance group were bandits traced to their camp, one of the survivors of the massacre has told our correspondent that they were all innocent, unarmed kinsmen returning from a wedding.
Nnamdi Nnanna, elder brother to the bride’s groom, Chijioke Nnanna on Wednesday narrated how the Ebubeagu operatives, allegedly shot and killed seven of his kinsmen before him in Awo-Omamma, Oru East Council Area of Imo state.
Nnamdi, who works with a borehole drilling company, said he survived the slaughter just by a whisker.
On how he survived the massacre, he said he pleaded with the leader of the Ebubeagu team, whom he identified as Izuchukwu Akuegbulenwa, popularly known as Ogwu Mozambique, who is also not an operative of the DSS as claimed by the Governor.
“I called out to him and begged him to spare my life”, he said.
Nnamdi who is also a father of two, narrated that on their way home, they travelled on four motorcycles, three were ahead while his own motorcycle was behind, pulling up the rear with three occupants.
He said that as he saw his kinsmen being gunned down, he shouted and told his rider to reverse and they beat a fast retreat, but that was not enough.
He said that the Ebubeagu operatives, gave chase and in their haste, their rider hit a bump and one of them fell out.
The operatives caught up with the guest that fell out and shot him point-blank and he died on the spot, the rider of the bike was also shot on his left arm.
His words: “When we finished the traditional wedding ceremony, we set out for home in four motorcycles. Three motorcycles were ahead of us while we rode behind. Before we knew it, the Ebubeagu operatives without any warning opened fire and killed the ones ahead of us. As we witnessed the gunning down of my kinsmen, I shouted to the rider of our motorcycle to reverse as fast as possible. We did but the Ebubeagu men came after us in high speed. As they pursued us they shot at us.
“As we sped, we hit a road bump, one of us fell out of the bike and they came to him and shot him dead. Our bike was forced to stop by a barricade in front set by men of the Ebubeagu. At that point, they shot the rider of our motorcycle on his arm. I immediately started shouting, telling them that we were not criminals nor ESN people.
“As those pursuing us alighted from their vehicle and approached, I identified their leader, Izuchukwu Akuegbulenwa, popularly known as” Ogwu Mozambique” and asked him not to kill me. One of them had already cocked his gun to shoot me but he ordered him to stop. I was bundled into their operational vehicle, tied and blindfolded.
“They took me to their camp at Omuma and locked me up. I kept telling them that I was not a criminal, that my immediate younger brother did his traditional wedding and we were just heading home from Awo- Omamma. They then brought me out and asked me to take them to the venue of the traditional marriage. While we went they masked me.
” We went there and they equally took me to the compound of our traditional ruler and later brought me back to their camp where I spent the night.
” It was in the morning that they brought us out and asked us to go home. I’m calling on every lover of justice to come to the rescue of my family and community. We have committed no crime. There was no provocation whatsoever. My kinsmen and brothers were killed for nothing.”
The Imo state police command confirmed the killings. It took the help of soldiers to recover the bodies of the slain wedding guests. While the Police is still investigating the killing, the Imo state government said those killed were bandits, who were killed in their camp in a DSS Operation.