A video that has now gone viral on social media shows Nigerian soldiers shooting indiscriminately at residents of Ochokwu village in the Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Meanwhile, there had been reports that Nigerian Army troops killed some alleged fighters of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the militant wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) during a raid carried out as part of Operation Golden Dawn in the state.
The gunmen were reportedly killed in a gun battle on October 30 after the troops launched an attack on their camps located within the Ochokwu village during the clearance operation.
Some of the items recovered were AK-47 rifles, rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, magazines, Biafran flags, among others.
The officers were part of security personnel on protection duty for a campaign rally ahead of the Anambra State poll which will hold on Saturday, November 6, 2021.
A video from the shooting incident had been recirculated with a claim that it happened in Mgbowo, Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State on Monday, November 1.
And in a release issued by the Nigerian Army on Tuesday, the Monday raid by soldiers did not involve firing or unprovoked burning of houses. The force further said the joint operation in Agwu was conducted in the night, claiming there was no destruction of any private property involved.
Nevertheless, while the claim that the indiscriminate shooting in Enugu state may be untrue, SaharaReporters learnt that men of the Nigerian Army wreaked havoc on the Ochokwu village in Ebonyi State, an incident which was filmed by the soldiers.
However, efforts made by SaharaReporters to reach the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu were not successful as he did not answer calls to his mobile phone nor respond to a text mesasage sent to him to respond to allegations that the video was shot in an Ebonyi community, and not in Enugu.
The press statement earlier released by the Nigerian Army reads: “Troops of Joint Security Team have raided a suspected Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network (IPOB/ESN) hideout located in Mgbowo, Awgu Local Government Area on 1 November 2021. During the night operation, two ring leaders of IPOB/ ESN were arrested. The suspects are currently undergoing interrogation with a security agency.
“It should be noted that, contrary to IPOB/ESN propaganda video, there was no incident of indiscriminate firing or unprovoked burning of houses during the raid. The joint operation in Agwu was conducted at the night and there was no destruction of any private property involved.
“The trending videos in circulation claiming to represent the aftermath of the night operation is not portraying the Agwu operation. It is meant to whip up sentiment and incite the public against the Army. Meanwhile, Investigation into the video is ongoing to ascertain when and where it was shot and those involved. Any personnel found culpable would be sanctioned accordingly. Updates will be communicated when investigation is completed.
“Members of the public are advised to disregard such propaganda materials intended to mislead the public. We shall continue to support other security agencies in line with our constitutional mandate in a professional manner. Any act of unprofessional conduct among our troops will not be tolerated.”