Nigerian Soldiers Burn Businesses in Imo State After Colleagues’ Killing.
In a disturbing turn of events, Nigerian soldiers have set fire to businesses, markets, shops, and hotels in Oriendu, Umualumaku Umueze, located in the Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State. This act of destruction follows the tragic killing of eight of their colleagues and other security personnel in the region.
Ejes Gist Newspaper has shed light on the recurring pattern of soldiers resorting to burning communities in Imo State and other parts of Southeast Nigeria whenever their fellow soldiers are killed, rather than diligently investigating and bringing the culprits to justice.
The initial incident that sparked this violent response occurred on Tuesday when unidentified gunmen ambushed and shot eight officials of the Joint Task Force (JTF) at Eke Nku, Umualumaku in the local government area of the state. Among the victims were two Naval staff, two officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), two soldiers, and two police personnel.
In retaliation, soldiers chose to inflict severe damage on the affected community. A video obtained by SaharaReporters on Wednesday depicted the aftermath of their rampage, with numerous shops, buildings, properties, food stalls, and bars completely consumed by flames. Roads in the village appeared deserted, and the devastation was evident in the destruction of countless crates of alcoholic beverages, as well as lockup shops filled with pots, plates, and chairs.
The video’s narrator, speaking in Igbo, pleaded for understanding and assistance, emphasizing the unjust treatment meted out to the community by the Nigerian soldiers who should be protecting them. He questioned why the entire community had to suffer for a crime they may not have committed and called on Nigerians to come to their aid.
The narrator stated, “We have suffered in this community. What do they want us to do in this community? That a crime was committed in this community does not mean that it is Ehime Mbano people who did it. You people should come to our rescue. Shops, bars, event centers, and food stalls were all burned down today by the military men of Nigeria. The people they destroyed their shops; were they the ones that committed the crime? Please, we are suffering in this community; leave us alone because things are bad. People are crying and asking what did we do?”
The video also revealed that some indigenous residents of the community had fled into the bush due to the ongoing unrest, leaving those who remained living in fear for their lives.