Soldiers of 14 Brigade, Army Headquarters have invaded Ohafia in Ohafia Local Government, Abia State, searching for a soldier allegedly shot by gunmen suspected to be members of the Eastern Security Network.
In a report by Daily Trust, this has caused an exodus of residents and indigenes of Elu, Amangwu, Ebem and Amaekpu, Ohafia LGA from their respective communities to neighbouring villages.
A source said, “We learnt that some boys believed to be members of the Eastern Security Network came to the popular Ebem motor park and started shooting and later left.
“Soldiers from 14 Brigade Ohafia, whose command headquarters is located in the area, later came and went after them.
“We learnt that the unknown gunmen shot a soldier with a double-barrel gun but not dead; he’s currently at Federal Medical Center Umuahia, currently receiving medical attention. Since that time, there have been sporadic gunshots from all corners.”
A civil servant from the area said the residents had suffered all manners of intimidation from soldiers, adding that marriages billed to occur in the community at the weekend had been shifted.
He also stated that many houses in the Amangwu Ohafia community were burnt. The soldiers had claimed that members of the ESN were using the houses as their hideout.
“We have suffered all manner of intimidation from soldiers. Some of our relatives have relocated to Uzuakoli, Umuahia, Aba, and anywhere they think that is safer for them. We are in the village but soldiers determine our right to movement.
“Marriages ceremonies billed to take place any time soon have been shifted indefinitely. We learnt that at Elu, soldiers went to the market and started pursuing people.
“A lot of houses have been burnt at Amangwu Ohafia community. They said that members of ESN were using the houses as their hideout, which I can’t validate. You need to call anyone from Amangwu to validate such claims. But what I can tell you right now is that Ohafia is on fire,” he said.
An indigene of Amangwu Ohafia, who spoke from his hideout, confirmed the invasion of his community by soldiers of 14 Brigade, Ohafia, with the claim that members of ESN that shot their personnel were hiding in the Amangwu community.
The source, who disclosed that they later started hearing heavy gunfire in their village in the early hours of Saturday, confirmed the burning of people’s houses, arrest and indiscriminate harassment of indigenes of their community by the soldiers.
“I don’t know the actual number. Some persons said six soldiers were killed; others said four and some ESN members were killed in the heavy gunfire. But the truth is that the Amangwu community, including Elu, Ebem and Amaepku, are all on fire.
“While we were running away from our community just like other persons, we saw a detachment of soldiers heading towards Ohafia from Umuahia end. We don’t know the fate of our people in the village. Their phone numbers are not connecting. It is feared that they have been either arrested by soldiers or other security agents in the state.