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How Nigerian Soldiers Killed One, Razed Houses In Abia Communities To Avenge Colleague

The attack resulted in loss of properties worth millions of naira while the affected victims were left in a state of hopelessness.

Residents of Ohafia communities in Abia State have lamented the terror unleashed on them by soldiers of the Nigerian Army who allegedly invaded their communities, killing and burning houses.

The soldier allegedly attacked Ohafia in retaliation following a military officer that was shot by suspected armed members of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, in the town.


The attack resulted in loss of properties worth millions of naira while the affected victims were left in a state of hopelessness. 

It was learnt that the incident happened when a military officer who had reportedly come to Ebem daily market to buy goods, without any sign of provocation, was shot at Ebem by some men in mufti.

The injured soldier was said to have escaped the scene of the incident with injuries, but soon after, several other soldiers stormed the market.

They arrived at the Ebem Park which is about three kilometres from their barracks and dislodged all workers.

They also occupied the premises for two weeks and demanded information about the men that shot their colleague, ICIR reports. 

A report by The ICRI said, "After vacating Ebem Park, the soldiers reportedly set up roadblocks and invaded some villages in Ohafia such as Amangwu, which shares a border with Ebonyi State and is surrounded by forests and bushes, with only a few motorable roads. Residents of Amangwu are predominantly farmers and traders, and the soldiers believed that they were providing refuge for the gunmen.

"The ICIR learnt that military personnel stormed Amangwu on June 11 in seven Army Hilux vans, shooting sporadically and throwing firebombs into shops and houses. According to multiple sources, the soldiers stayed in the village for two days before leaving on June 13.

"A commercial motorcycle rider from Okongo who came to the community to drop off a lady was reportedly killed by the soldiers during the sporadic shootings.

"Multiple accounts from residents said the motorcyclist was hit by a stray bullet and escaped to a nearby building for safety, but the soldiers went after him, dragged him out and rained more bullets on him until he died. His kinsmen later retrieved his body for burial."

According to ICIR, only a few traders could be seen at Amangwu market doing business as many shops had been destroyed.

“We were outside when we heard that men of the Nigerian Army were coming, soon we started hearing gunshots and we had to abandon our shops and run into the village,” a businesswoman Ucha Ndukwe, who lost five shops to the incident told The ICIR.

“I just bought new stocks for my shop. I deal in palm oil and provisions, but by the time I came back, everything was already razed down. I did not even have a pin to pick,” Ucha who is a widow also told the medium.

She said life has been mostly unbearable for her and her children since the incident. 

The traditional ruler of Amangwu community, A.A. Obobi said he was inside his chambers when he heard that the Nigerian Army were advancing towards the community.

“I was inside my palace when I learnt that the Nigerian Army officials were taking over the community, I could not go out because I did not want to be injured, even though some youths tried to stand their ground but houses were burnt by the soldiers, we lost properties amid wanton destruction.

“By the time men of the Army were leaving, they had destroyed 28 houses and we had lost properties worth over N50 million. 

“Many persons left the community due to the attack, women and children had to leave due to the incident of the attack and when some persons came back, we learnt that the men of the Nigerian Army were planning to come back and people moved out again,” he narrated.

The traditional ruler also confirmed the death of the motorcyclist and noted that he was making efforts through the local government council to reach out to the state government to investigate the incident and compensate the victim.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army according to The ICRI, confirmed that it carried out a joint “clearance operation” in the area but said reports that the operation was a reprisal after an officer was shot by gunmen were false.

“The true position is that troops carried out routine clearance operations in line with the rules of engagement and respect for fundamental human rights of the citizens aimed to restore socio-economic activities which were hitherto disrupted by criminal activities of IPOB/ESN elements who attack security agents and government infrastructures,” a statement by the former Director Army Public Relations, Mohammed Yerima released on June 14, said.

The statement added that troops of the Nigerian Army working in conjunction with personnel of Nigeria Police and other security agencies leveraging on timely and accurate intelligence provided by patriotic citizens were working tirelessly to restore normalcy to troubled areas and to rid the state of criminal elements.

The ICRI reports that the newly appointed Director Army Public Relations Onyema Nwachukwu, who assumed office on June 16, told The ICIR that the clearance operation was carried out based on credible intelligence, to restore socio-economic stability, law and order, which the law-abiding citizens have been denied as a result of the atrocious activities of the ESN.

While speaking with The ICIR, the Commissioner for Information in Abia state, John Okiyi Kalu pledged to ensure that justice is served as a way to protect the rights of their citizens.

“This government has zero-tolerance for human rights abuses or extra-judicial action of any kind. Any place we have that we will take it up to defend our citizens to ensure that there is dignity upheld and all is working well,” he noted.