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Soldiers allegedly open fire on civilians in Imo

By Odita Sunday, Abuja and Lawrence Njoku, Enugu
19 April 2022   |   4:12 am
Several people were killed on Sunday, as Nigerian soldiers were said to have opened fire on residents at Orlu Local Council of Imo State.

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Several people were killed on Sunday, as Nigerian soldiers were said to have opened fire on residents at Orlu Local Council of Imo State.  

It was gathered that the soldiers stormed various communities in the local government in pick-up trucks shortly after nightfall and started shooting sporadically, as they searched for suspected Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) agitators causing mayhem in the state.

It wasn’t clear how many people were killed as of press time, but a source whose neighbour was shot dead by the soldiers said no fewer than four persons had been killed in what appears to be a gross violation of fundamental rights.  

“Four people have been killed by the soldiers. They are looked for IPOB members but killing innocent citizens,” he said, pleading anonymity for fear of being attacked. 

When contacted yesterday, Imo State police spokesman, Micheal Abattam, confirmed the incident but said he is not authorised to speak on what transpired. He said, “Since the police were not involved in the incident, I can’t speak. The military should speak on what happened there. I don’t work with them.”

Efforts to reach the military were unsuccessful, as its spokesperson, Onyema Nwachukwu, did not respond to calls and text messages on the incidents and the number of casualties.

IN another development, troops of 34 Artillery Brigade, Nigerian Army (NA), on Easter Sunday, neutralised alleged members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed affiliate Eastern Security Network (ESN) at Ihioma community in Orlu Local Council of Imo State.

According to army spokesman, Brig. General Onyema Nwachukwu, “Troops on routine patrol encountered members of the group who fired sporadically at Banana Junction to enforce the illegal sit-at-home order on law abiding citizens going about their legitimate businesses.

“The IPOB/ESN criminals, on sighting the troops, withdrew in a blue Toyota Highlander vehicle and headed towards Ihioma community for reinforcement.

“In the fire-fight that ensued during the operation, one of the criminals was taken out, while others fled in disarray. Troops are combing the area in a follow up operations to track down the fleeing dissidents.

MEANWHILE, a group, South East Initiative (SEI), yesterday, called on politicians and other gladiators to save the zone from further destruction by going about their 2023 aspirations in accordance with the rules.

The group lamented the growing insecurity that was daily creating fears in the people and raised concerns about attacks on politicians and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the region.

SEI noted that unless concerted efforts aimed at addressing current security challenges in the zone are made, a time would come when it would be difficult to do any business in the region.