The unlawful arrest, detention, killing and maiming of innocent citizens in most communities of Orlu zone, especially around the Orlu and Orsu axis has continued unabated despite resounding public outcry in several quarters.
The latest in the series of the fatal onslaught against the people reportedly occurred around the popular Eke Ututu market where some military personnel who allegedly invaded the area snuffed life out of several people including two staff of a block industry named, Ugochukwu Obianeli and his boss Nonso who were shot at close range.
Investigation by our correspondent reveals that the soldiers who stormed the area in their numbers at about noon on Monday, August 30, 2022 shot sporadically. This made the panic stricken traders, residents and shop owners to run helter skelter for safety. “The victims who were busy molding blocks in the block molding industry located in the vicinity were not luck as stray bullets hit and killed them”.
The most unfortunate aspect of the episode is that the late Ugochukwu got married recently and his wife delivered their first and only child in December last year.
It was also gathered, that an elderly man who hails from Ubaha-Orsu and operates an electrical materials shop at the Eke Ututu market was also shot on both legs by the rampaging soldiers who were said to have come from the military barracks at Obinze, in Owerri West Local Government Area.
“As people were scampering for safety, the man who could not run like the younger ones took refuge in his shop. The soldiers went there and dragged him out. When they saw that he was an elderly man, they shot him on both legs and abandoned him to his fate, instead of killing him like others. Reports have it that he also died shortly after the incident”.
Some of the residents who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity lamented that the agonizing aspect of their predicament is that they do not know who to approach for reprieve as their representative in the Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Ekene Nnodumele has been on suspension for the past nine months, making them completely helpless.
They wondered why a government that its primary responsibility is to ensure the protection of lives and property of citizens should fold hands and watch while people are decimated and their businesses grounded for no just cause.
Meanwhile the military in in a press release signed by Onyema Nwachukwu as Brigadier General Director Army Public Relations with Caption,”TROOPS NEUTRALIZE IPOB/ESN ELEMENTS IN ORSU” stated that Troops of Headquarters 82 Division Nigerian Army, made up of troops of 34 Artillery Brigade, in conjunction with troops of Nigerian Navy, Air Force and other security agencies on Tuesday 30 Augus neutralized two combatants of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its militant wing Eastern Security Network (ESN) along Eke Ututu – Ihitte Nansa road in Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State.
The release further stated that,”the troops encountered the dissidents while carrying out a raid operation around the general area of Orsu Ihitte Ukwa and Ihitte Nansa. The neutralized members had taken position to launch one of their primed rocket launchers, when they were engaged and taken out by the vigilant troops.
“The fearless troops were unhurt, as Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) deployed by the irredentists exploded at Eke Ututu Market, destroying some of the shops in the market”.
Also reacting to the sad development the suspended lawmaker for Orsu state Assembly, Hon Ekene Nnodumele described the development as unfortunate, adding that the earlier the actors and non-actors embrace peace the better for Imo people.
According to him, two months on negotiation table is better than two days of war.He sympathized with the families of the innocent persons who lost their lives during the latest attack.