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Coalition accuses military of killing South East youths

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Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) has accused the military of extra judicial killings of youths in the zone. The accusation was contained in a statement issued yesterday by the President-General, Goodluck Ibem, and Secretary-General, Kanice Igwe.

It cited the alleged shooting to death of Owerri-based businessman, Noel Chigbu, by a soldier at a checkpoint in Amakohia, Owerri, on Friday, April 30, 2021 by 10p.m., among other killings.

The statement read in part: “COSEYL, the umbrella body of all youth organisations in the South East geopolitical zone, is very enraged over the unlawful, barbaric, wicked and extra-judicial killing of a businessman, Mr. Noel Chigbu, aged 39 years, by the military at Amakohia junction, Owerri, Imo State for allegedly violating their checkpoint rule. Another is the unlawful killing of a first-year student, Divine Nwaneri, at a military checkpoint close to Imo Governor’s office.

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“These killings and more that happened in recent times are tangible proof that the military are on a secret mission to exterminate Igbo youths in the South East. The killing of unarmed agitators and pampering of Boko Haram terrorists is a clear testament that Ndigbo have been marked for extinction by the Nigerian military.”

It wondered why the soldiers paid with tax-payers money would kill kill an innocent youth on the flimsy excuse of violating checkpoint rules. COSEYL stated: “This is absolute madness and it must stop forthwith.

“The truth is, Noel Chigbu was killed by the soldiers for refusing to give them ‘bribe’. The soldiers now make it mandatory that anyone that passes on the road must ‘bribe’ the soldiers, or their employed civilians who disguise as plantain chips sellers, or risk being killed because they are on a mandate to exterminate Igbo youths.”

Urging the soldiers to desist from harassing the Igbo people, the coalition added: “The impunity with which soldiers and other security operatives deal with Igbo youths calls for serious concern. This is total harassment of Ndigbo and we reject it in its entirety.

“Igbo youths are being arrested by the army who brand them unknown gunmen and kill them. How do they know that they are unknown gunmen?”It called on governors, lawmakers and other political office holders from the South East to speak up in defence of their people, who are being unlawfully killed daily without justifiable reasons.

“If our governors and other political office holders are keeping silent and all Igbo youths are killed, who will vote for them in the next elections?

“We, therefore, demand that the military must identify and hand over those soldiers involved in the unlawful killings of Chigbu, Nwaneri and others to the police for immediate prosecution,” it added.

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