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3 Persons Missing, 4 Houses Burnt in Soldiers, Ebonyi Youth Clash

From  Ignatius  Okpara, Abakaliki

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A deadly clash  between soldiers attached to the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army Enugu, and the youths of Okpu Itumo community in Ebonyi state, South-East Nigeria has reportedly led to the missing of three persons,  and 4 houses razed down.

The development, has forced the people of the area to flee to neighbouring communities for fear of further brutalization or arrest by the soldiers.

 Meanwhile, African Examiner gathered that the incident has paved way for miscreants from neighbouring Cross River state, in South- South Nigeria, to invade the Community and wreck havoc on people’s  houses, including alleged  killing  of  one Duru John and cut off his head.

David Umahi, the Ebonyi state governor, has visited the community alongside the representatives of the Commandant of Nkwagu military cantonment, as well as the state  Commissioner of police to ascertain  the level of destruction of property.

However, the governor, and the security chiefs have  urged youths of the community to seize fire and maintain peace and order.

Umahi, who spoke through his special adviser  on security, Dr Kenneth Ugbala, explained that  the purpose of their visit was to appeal to the youths to be at peace with the soldiers who were posted to protect their lives and property.

The governor, appealed to them to see the soldiers as their friends and should stop any attempt to cause further breach of peace and order, stressing  that they should not ask the soldiers to leave the community because no one knows what may occur

Chairman of Abakaliki council area,  Mr. Emmanuel Nwangele his remarks, said the soldiers were suppose to love the community but called on the youths to always report their problems to their leaders and not to take laws into their own hands.

He added, “We came to inform our people to live in harmony with the soldiers who are protecting their lives and property. If there is any reason the youths should have disagreement with the soldiers, the should first report to their leaders, instead of taken laws into their own hands.

“We have told the entire community not to be afraid of the soldiers again and they should return back to their homes in which they have fled for fear of arrest,”

The traditional ruler of the troubled Community,   Pius Nwangele said, “it was on Sunday that the soldiers and the youths had misunderstanding that resulted to a bad situation. The soldiers out of annoyance came and scattered the people in the community and because of that, Cross River people used the opportunity to invade our community, especially at Nworji market and razed down 4 houses including a hospital.

“On Tuesday, the problem escalated and I reported the matter to the chairman who also reached out to the governor. I don’t really know What caused the matter but what I was told was that the youths and the soldiers are having misunderstanding.

“The war was between Ebonyi and Cross River and the soldiers came to restore peace and order. Our 3 youths are missing since 3 days ago. We lost one Duru John, we know very well that it is Cross River people that shoot him to death and cut off his head”.

Reacting to the incident, the acting Commanding Officer of the  Nkwagu military cantonme, MP Ndanusa said, “I made it clear to the community that we in the army and other security agents are not here for the interest of Ebonyi or Cross River.

“If any one ask me why Ebonyi and Cross River are fighting, I don’t know. What I’m asked to do here is to ensure that there is peace and order in this community. We are here to stop the two states from fighting and that has been our stand,”

African Examiner recalled that Ebonyi and Cross River state, had been engaging each other in a deadly communal war, which has claimed scores of lives, and property valued several millions destroyed.

 

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