Residents of Oriendu in Umualumaku Umueze, Ehime Mbano Local Government Area, Imo State, find themselves living in fear as their community has reportedly been invaded, and property destroyed, by individuals believed to be security personnel, suspected to be soldiers.
This unsettling incident occurred just a day after a group of unidentified gunmen attacked and killed several soldiers, policemen, and members of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps in two patrol vehicles within the community. In a video that surfaced online, the narrator attributed the actions to armed officials.
The residents are currently gripped by fear and anguish as they witness the burning of their homes. An individual interviewed in the video expressed their dismay, emphasizing that they are being unjustly punished for circumstances beyond their control. The footage reveals extensive damage, including the destruction of numerous shops, buildings, properties, food establishments, and bars, allegedly carried out by the rampaging soldiers seeking justice for their fallen colleagues.
The once-bustling village now presents a desolate and somber picture, with only a handful of residents, who have had their properties ravaged, visible in the area. Countless crates of alcoholic beverages lie in ruins, lockup shops have been set ablaze, and shops filled with pots, plates, and chairs have also fallen victim to the destruction. The narrator’s plea to the nation is for all Nigerians to recognize the unjust treatment that the community has endured.
“We have suffered in this community. What do they want us to do in this community? That a crime was committed in this community does not mean that it is Ehime Mbano people that did it. You people should come to our rescue. Shops, bars, event centres and food stalls were all burned down today by the military men of the Nigeria.
“The people they destroyed their shops; were they the ones that committed the crime? Please, we are suffering in this community; leave us alone because things are bad. People are crying and asking what did we do?”
According to the video narrator, a number of residents from the community have sought refuge by fleeing into the nearby bush.
However, the Nigerian Army has firmly refuted any allegations of its involvement in the attack or destruction of businesses, including bars and restaurants, in Ehime Mbano, Imo State, subsequent to the tragic killing of security personnel in Umualumaku community on Tuesday.
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The Assistant Director of Army Public Relations Officer for the 34 Artillery Brigade in Obinze, Joseph Akubo, expressed his lack of awareness regarding any actions carried out by army personnel in the region.
“Is it that military men came to destroy? Let’s be sure of what you are asking. I am not aware of anything like that. We don’t have a report of anything related to this. “Unfortunately, everybody is bringing on whatever they like, but for now, the military is not conducting any operations around there. I will suggest you speak with the Police PRO.
“I think you should speak with the police; they are the ones in charge of internal security. They should be the ones speaking about whatever is taking place.”
Furthermore, Brigadier General Tukur Gusau, the Director of Defence Information, stated that he had no prior knowledge of the incident.
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