70 Houses, 15 Vehicles 25 Motorcycle Burnt, Cash Looted In Imo Community After Army Invasion
Friday, Oct 8 was a black day in Izombe, Oguta Local Government of Imo State to be precise following the reign of terror visited on the community by personnel of the Nigerian Army.
It was a day, soldiers of the Nigerian Army demonstrated their love for the destruction of hard-earned property.
Some victims of the raid by Soldiers have decried the attack, describing it as “unwarranted”.
The rampaging soldiers who operated unfettered threw explosives into people’s homes, plundered the farms, economic trees, and looted every valuable in sight.
Those, who spoke to Journalists on Sunday in separate interviews, said they incurred great loss as a result.
It would be recalled that three persons were feared dead including two army personnel and a civilian with more than 70 houses burnt down, following a squabble among youths that were collecting tolls from oil bunkers.
Our Correspondent who visited the area on Sunday, reports that some victims were seen standing helplessly in their buildings destroyed beyond repair.
Speaking on the incident, the traditional ruler of Aborsi-Izombe, HRH Eze Pius Muforo said the government should thoroughly investigate the main cause of the incident.
“I gathered that one youth and two soldiers were killed.
“It was very condemnable that human lives were lost in the incident and I sincerely sympathize with the families of the dead persons,” he said.
According to him, contrary to reports, my house was spared, but my subjects’ houses were badly affected and I am not happy about it.
The traditional ruler lamented that over 70 houses,15 vehicles, and 25 motorcycles parked inside were gutted by fire as well as the destruction of economic plants.
“This community has been peaceful; we don’t merit the punishment meted on us. All the victims never took part in bunkering business,” he said.
The traditional ruler, who expressed concern over the increasing activities of oil bunkering in the area, urged the government to find an urgent way of stopping the oil bunkering in the area as well as find ways of meaningful engaging the teeming youths to deter them from the nefarious activities.
A victim, Mr. Ifeanyichukwu Onyeukwu, who described the incident as a “tragedy” and a “big loss”, said the community had never experienced such an attack.
“It was like a war situation. They came here with about 30 Hilux vans and three war tanks. I hid in the bush watching from a distance how they throw dynamites into our building.
“We lost everything including clothes, phones, electrical appliances, and money.
“Particularly, my cousin lost over N500,000 cash while his wife also lost some amount belonging to a Church group she belonged,” he claimed.
Onyeuwku further added: “I am not part of the bunkering business going on in the area, but I am surprised that the problem caused by few individuals affected me and virtually everyone in the village.”
He urged Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo to visit the area to ascertain the level of damage caused to assist them.
Another victim, Mr. Victus Nwadikwa, a retired driver with the Court of Appeal, said he and his brothers lost three cars and two buildings to the attack.
“On Friday morning, I left my home to Mbaise, I later received several calls that there was trouble at Izombe and I should not return home.
“I later came on Saturday, to discover that three cars in my compound had been burnt down, my house and that of my brother have been burnt as well.
“We couldn’t save anything from the houses. Now, all my sweat over the years has been turned to rubbles,” he lamented.
Nwadikwa, who said since retirement, he only relies on his pension and sales from his farm produce, also appealed to the government to come to his aid.
“I know that a youth and two army officers were killed, but the army overreacted,” he added.
Again, when contacted on phone for comments, the Army’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Capt. Joseph Akubo declined comments