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Rights Group Raises Alarm Over Killings, Destruction Of Properties In South East Communities By Nigerian Army

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A Rights group, Center for Victims of Extrajudicial Killing and Torture (CVEKT AFRICA), has joined   other Nigerians as well as human rights groups  in condemning in strong terms what it described as “the alleged unabated genocide in Igbo land  in the form of successive annihilation of Igbo communities by troops of the Nigerian army stationed in various parts of the South East in apparent reprisal attacks for killing of soldiers by unknown gunmen in the affected communities.

According to the organization, “in more recent cases, it happened at Izombe in Oguta, Imo State, it happened at Etekwuru in Ohaji/Egbema; it also happened at Isingwu, a hamlet in Imama village, Mgbowo in  Awgu, Enugu State and in same month, it was Awomamma in Orlu, Imo State.

In a statement tagged: “This Genocide Must Stop” the group noted that  “There had also been similar reprisal attacks on Abia oil communities of Owaza and Obuzor in Ukwa West Local Government area recently.

The statement issued by its Executive Director, Rev. Fr. Tony Amarube, made available to African Examiner Thursday in Enugu said”  each of these instances, troops of the Nigerian army descended on the village, setting people’s houses cars, shops and other valuables ablaze.

“These genocidal reprisal attacks which have now assumed a traditional course of action by the Nigeria army are reminiscent of the Odi and Zakibiam episodes in the then Benue-Plateau State some years back for which the citizens of Zakibiam took the Nigerian army to court and won huge compensations for massive destruction of lives and property in the area.

“As a matter of fact, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law InterSociety, recently reported that in 14 months, Nigerian troops razed not less than 100 Igbo Communities, and attacked not less than 1,000 dwelling houses belonging to unarmed civilians and destroyed property valued at not less than 40 billion  naira.

“Although the Nigerian army expectedly refuted the report, media pictorial and video evidence abound to support a consistent and wide-scale military invasion of communities in the South East on a vandalization spree, with Imo and Abia States as the core points.

It posited that “while CVEKT condemns in unequivocal terms the killing of soldiers by the so-called unknown gun men or hoodlums as both criminal and highly provocative, we insist that the army, as a professional and disciplined organization it is supposed to be, has no justification to employ barbaric approach in responding to such situations.

“On the contrary, the army leadership is expected to take the professional approach of applying its intelligence facilities/apparatus to fish out the perpetrators of the crime and treat them according to the law.

“This is more so where there is no evidence that the unknown gun men or hoodlums are members of the community in question as  they could have come from elsewhere.

“But to visit the sin of one or a few hoodlums on an entire village or community in such a dastardly manner of burning down houses and shooting people at sight is to say the least unprofessional, out rightly criminal, barbaric, grossly immoral, highly irresponsible, totally illegal, and undoubtedly actionable as it is gross violation of the fundamental rights of the people to a peaceful existence as well as to their lives and property. 

“It should be recalled that it was on these legitimate grounds that the people of Zakibiam went to court against FG and the Army and won. And if the Nigerian army authorities fail to call their foot soldiers to order in their brazen breach of civilized military rule of engagement with unarmed  law abiding civilians, then the army risks similar litigation by affected villages and communities or even individuals.

“CVEKT therefore counsels Nigerian military through their commanders in the South East to apply due professionalism and proper rule of engagement in responding to criminal confrontations, including killing of their troops by unknown gun men or other hoodlums by way of discrete intelligence process and appropriate legal procedure against confirmed culprits.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=73376

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