Abia council chairman confirms clash between soldiers, hoodlums
• Says alleged casualties remain fake news until confirmed by authorities
• Group decries escalating insecurity, extra-judicial killings, others in South-East
Chairman of Ohafia Local Council in Abia State, Dr. Okorafor Ukiwe, has confirmed the clash between yet-to-be identified hoodlums and security agents in Ohafia community at the weekend.
Ukiwe gave the hint in a statement, yesterday, by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Idika Michael, stating that the local council has received “further complaints of alleged intimidation, harassment and stifling of the constitutional freedom of movement and right of the people to do legitimate business following the said clash.”
An online news platform had reported on Saturday that there was heavy gun-battle between soldiers of 14 Brigade of the Nigerian Army with headquarters at Ohafia and unknown gunmen.
The online platform said that the fierce exchange of gunfire between the gunmen and soldiers caused an exodus of residents and indigenes of Elu, Amangwu, Ebem and Amaekpu in the council from their respective communities to other neighbouring villages to avoid being caught up in the crossfire.
In the statement, the council chairman urged the public to remain calm and disregard the alleged casualties resulting from the clash as fake news until government or security authorities make a clear statement on the matter.
He said that there were ongoing efforts to resolve and pacify the situation. He further advised the youths to allow the military perform their constitutional duties to avoid aggravated response and also the military to “stop the practice of needless humiliation of innocent and law-abiding citizens through compelling them to raise hands and other dehumanising acts.”
The chairman also enjoined all traditional rulers, communities and youth leaders to urgently control the influx of unknown persons to their communities and be accountable for the peace and security of their communities.
MEANWHILE, when contacted, the state Police Commissioner (CP), Mrs. Janet Agbede, told The Guardian on phone that she would get back but did not at the time of filling this report.
IN another development, a socio-cultural group in Igboland, under the aegis of Igbo Nationalist Movement (INM), has deplored the growing and disturbing state of insecurity in South-East.
In a statement, at the weekend, and signed by its President, Anthony Olisa and Secretary, Onyemuche Mbachu, among others, the group expressed shock at the growing ugly incidences, urging a cease-fire.
The statement read in part: “Shocked by the escalating and deteriorating state of insecurity in the homelands inhabited by Ndigbo, the Igbo Nationalist Movement has stepped out to voice out concern against the threat of war going on in Igboland.”
“We are disturbed by the heightened increase in extra-judicial executions, abductions, and disappearances of Igbo youths (some brazenly executed in broad daylight) in the course of the past few weeks.”
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