Invasion of Orsuihiteukwa: Community Begs Uzodinma,FG to Withdraw Military
v Describes area as ghost town
By Martin Nwoko
The people of Orsuihiteukwa in Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State and victims of the recent military Invasion of the community which led to the destruction of their ancestral market ‘Ekeututu’ have cried out to the Imo State Governor, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma to intervene by ending the sustained military attacks, bombing of the community, killing of defenseless civilians and youths in the community.
The community stated this during a press conference organized in Owerri, the Imo State capital to intimate the public on their present predicament as regards to the attacks and wanton destruction of people’s homes and sources of livelihood in the area.
Orsuihiteukwa is among the eight ancient clans that make up Orsu Local Government Area which shares boundaries with Awo Idemili, Eziawa and Ihitenansa clans in Orsu LGA and also with Lilu and Orsumuoghu communities in Ihiala LGA of Anambra State.
Addressing newsmen on behalf of the community, the Attorney to Orsu-ihiteukwa, Barr. A.C Ibekaeme stated that Orsu-ihiteukwa clan made up of Etiti Orsu, Orsuihiteukwa Ancient Kingdom and Ihiteukwa Orsu has been turned into a theatre of bombardments since February 17th 2021 when the area which was hitherto a peaceful community witnessed the 1st military Invasion in it’s history.
According to Ibekaeme, “it was on February 17th 2021 at about 4:pm that military Hilux vans carrying combatant soldiers, Armoured tanks and helicopter gunships in a war-like fashion stormed the community with sporadic bombardments along the community’s Lilu and Orsumoghu boarder, destroying houses and killed two men and one girl. The bombardment continued on the next day February 18, 2021 in what was later termed a fight against insecurity and a group suspected to be ESN said to be staying within the boarder area in the community”.
He further narrated that similar attacks have been launched on the community in the past, adding that the people of the area have gone through a lot since the commencement of the crisis hinting that many lives have been lost during joint military taskforce, DSS , Police and Ebubeagu operatives struck the community in a joint operation.
Barr. Ibekaeme stated that the military came again in a more brutal manner during their recent onslaught against the community on September, 17, 2022 which led to the burning down of virtually all the shops and stalls at the Ekeututu International Market. He also sited that on 6th August 2022, armed soldiers and other security personnel with armored tanks, scores of Hilux vans invaded Ihiteukwa community and set two houses ablaze, abducted Chief Pius Nwannakwe, Geoffrey and Christopher Emeti and later whisked away Chief Joseph Egbuonwoke from his Owerri residence and nothing has been heard of them till date.
In his words, “our community is bleeding, our soil has been soaked in the blood of our youths such that agricultural yeilds no longer blossom, the air has been polluted with smokes from burnt down structures including human bodies , our youths have fled the community for fear , women have suddenly become childless , widows, ailing and dead”.
The community thereby stated it clearly that they do not in anyway promote, accommodate or support criminality but noted that they do not support the approach and current measures being taken by sending soldiers who would not isolate defenceless and unarmed youths , women, children and the aged in their fight against perceived miscreants.
The people of Orsu -Ihiteukwa thereby appealed to the Imo State Government being led by Senator Hope Uzodinma to withdraw the ravaging soldiers from their community if there are no plans to exterminate their people for no just cause.
“He therefore maintained that Government should take responsibility for all the losses in human and material casualties of this military Invasion in Orsu LGA”.
Speaking further, the community appealed to the Federal Government, International agencies, good spirited individuals and organizations to come to their aid in assisting victims of the unholy war against its people.
As part of their demand, the community also begged Governor Uzodinma to withdraw military operatives.
It also appealed to Military authorities and other security agencies to urgently release their people in their custody or hand them over to appropriate authorities for persecution.
Contributing, the President General of Etiti Orsu, Chief Sir Benedict Nwajiobi stated that he cannot bear it anymore the condition of his people stressing that the community is currently bleeding.
According to him, “in the history of our community, no market or church have been burnt or destroyed like what we witnessed recently, I call on the Imo State Government to come to our aid because we have no other place to live other than in our community”.