Soldiers of the Nigeria Army on Monday invaded Isingwu, a hamlet in Imama Village, Mgbowo in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State and burnt houses with an undisclosed number of youths killed for yet to be identified reasons.
However, some accounts claimed the soldiers were in the community to arrest an alleged leader of the Eastern Security Network, the security arm of Indigenous People of Biafra, who hailed from the community.
A source told our correspondent that the said suspect, known as Chocho, was said to be at large when the military personnel invaded around the community at about 5am and started shooting indiscriminately, burning houses including the family house of the said suspect.
“They torched his house and sprayed bullets in nearby compounds. In short, the soldiers who were chanting jihadist songs were burning properties in the community like they were at war with the community,” one of the sources told our correspondent.
Although an eyewitness, who pleaded not to be named, said there was no casualty during the attack, there are reports that undisclosed number of youths were killed during the invasion.
The source said, “The villagers were surprised at the invasion because there had not been any attack by ESN members in recent time. We have not had any issue with IPOB or its security wing ESN. In short, it is the ESN that stopped herdsmen kidnappings, killings and rape of women in the community and around Awgu council area. Where were the soldiers when the Fulani herdsmen were ruining the community before emergency of the ESN?”
He noted that before the Monday invasion the military had engaged in show of strength, parading the entire town everyday. This development, he said, made the people to live in fear.
However, Coalition of South East Youth Leaders has condemned the gruesome killings of innocent civilians and burning of their houses and properties by soldiers in the South-East describing it as “wicked, villainous and barbaric”.
The group in a statement titled, ‘The Nigeria Military’s murderous excesses in Awgu Local Government of Enugu State, an aberration to the rule of law,’ said the Nigerian military has no constitutional right to move into a civilian community and start shooting, killing and burning community houses, describing it as genocide and such act amount to ethnic cleansing.
The statement which was signed by the group’s President General and Publicity Secretary, Mr Goodluck Ibem and Comrade Okey Nworu respectively, said the burning of community houses or houses said to belong to a suspect or family can only mean one thing, that soldiers were Fulani terrorists executing jihad against Igbo.
The statement partly read, “The Military under the democratic setting is governed by constitutional norms. The Nigerian Constitution being the grand norm, absolutely prohibits the use of extra legal killings of citizens under section 33 (1).
“What on earth will make soldiers who are paid with taxpayers money to invade a civilian community killing anything on sight and burning down houses if not to conquer the territory.
“The plot to Fulanise and Islamise Nigeria is no longer a hinder agenda but an open one now. The Awgu genocide is a clear one for all to see.
The soldiers who came for the mission in Awgu were killing people and speaking Fulani and Hausa language. They were carefully handpicked by their sponsors for the wicked genocide mission.
We are very aware that the plot to annihilate Ndigbo for the Fulanis to take over Igboland is because the South East region are predominantly Christians. It is so sad that such genocide is happening in a supposed democratic administration were the rule of law, right to life and fundamental human rights are meant to be respected by the government.
Awgu is a peaceful and law-abiding community. The community has not been in the news for the wrong reasons. For the Nigerian military to move into a peaceful and and law-abiding community to kill innocent people while abusing those they are killing with Fulani and Hausa language means that there is more than meets the eye. Truly Igboland has been marked for take over by the Fulani using the Nigeria military but they will not succeed.
“We call on the South-East governors who are the Chief Security Officers of their various states to stand up on their feet and defend their states. If they keep quiet believing that they are secured because they have security around them, very soon the Fulani killers will get to them. The time to address and arrest the situation in the bud is now.”
The youth leaders however, called on the United Nations and the international community to immediately come to the aid of the people of South-East who have been marked for annihilation because they are Christians.
“We hereby demand for an independent panel of inquiry into the genocide committed by Nigerian soldiers in Isi-Ngwu community and the massive destruction of houses. The soldiers that carried out the burning and killings must be fished out and tried for committing war crime against the people.”
Meanwhile, efforts to get reaction of the Nigerian Army were unsuccessful as the spokesman of the military, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu could not take his calls or respond to text message at of the time of filing this report.
Also, when contacted on telephone, the Acting Deputy Director Army Public Relations 82 Division, Major Abubakar Abdullahi, told our correspondent to give him some time, but after several hours, he sent a text saying “please get across to Director Army Public Relations”.