Saturday, 25 March 2017

Ebonyi inter-community conflict victims narrate gory tales

The indigenes of Oferekpe-Enyigba community in va (LGA) of Ebonyi have narrated gory tales of attacks on them by suspected assailants from neigbouring Enyibichiri-Alike in Ikwo LGA of Ebonyi. A Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who visited the area on Saturday reports that the community was desolate though assurances from security agencies made some displaced indigenes return to their homes. Police authorities confirmed the death of two persons in the conflict in which property worth millions of Naira were destroyed, while indigenes whose homes were destroyed have relocated from the community or are squatting with relatives. Mr Chibueze Nwelem, (32), recalled that he saw the assailants numbering about 20 kill his father, Nwelem Ijebe and his elder brother, Innocent, while they abducted his sister, Odinaka. “I was returning from farm when I saw a lot of people inside my compound and when my brother wanted to escape, they shot him on the head. “I hid and beheld them molesting my father whom they later shot as he was shouting for help and afterwards abducted my sister,’’ he said. “I alerted fellow indigenes who mobilised, retrieved my brother’s corpse and handed it over to the police. “The police also took the picture of my father’s corpse and instructed that we bury him as it was needless keeping the corpse,’’ he said. Another indigene, Celestine Uguru, said that the assailants attacked the five villages of the community around 12. p.m. on March 19, killing and destroying buildings, farm crops and farm lands. “Innocent Nwelem whom the assailants murdered is my younger sister’s husband and she just delivered a baby some weeks ago. “We have not told her of her husband’s death due to the devastating implications and which is the lot of hundreds of indigenes of our community affected by the conflict,’’ he said. He said that the devastating effect was heightened in the community with the news of the release of the suspects arrested by the army in connection with the attack. “We are appalled to hear that assailants who wreaked havoc in a community and were arrested with arms and other dangerous weapons, could be released without reason,’’ he added. A member of the community’s kingship cabinet, Chief Sunday Nwideogu, noted that the army personnel stationed in the area informed the natives that the suspects had been released to the government whom they were only answerable to. NAN subsequently accompanied some stakeholders of the community to the army base in the area where the Assistant Commander who did not disclose his identity, briefed the entourage. “We did not release the suspects but are holding them in custody in an area I will not disclose alongside 20 suspects arrested from Ogurude Community of Obubra LGA of Cross River. “This community is engaged in a conflict with the Azuoffia-Edda community, Abakaliki LGA of Ebonyi and we arrested them with six human heads. “The son to the seventh person about to be beheaded informed us of the development and we stormed the scene, rescued his father and arrested the suspects with the human heads. “The interesting issue is that the suspects were arrested with cans of salt, oil and pepper possibly to cook the human heads, as the boy told us that the severed victims were all indigenes of Azuoffia-Edda,’’ he said. DSP Jude Madu, the Ebonyi Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, said that he was not officially aware of the arrest of such suspects but that officers of the command were in control of security situation in the affected areas.

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