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Nwaorieubi massacre by soldiers: Spaces for Change, communities demand justice

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Nwaorieubi and Mbaitolu communities in Imo State are demanding justice following gruesome daylight murder of six people by officers of the 34 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 during the #EndSARS protest.

The communities wondered why the soldiers invaded them killing and injuring mostly women, girls and young men and described the killings as senseless, unjustified and totally unlawful.

“Nwaorieubi communities are demanding justice for these senseless killings. Spaces For Change is calling on the federal government, especially the Chief of Army Staff to investigate these killings and bring the perpetrators to justice.

“At a time Nigerians are calling on the government to halt police brutality and right historical injustices perpetrated by security operatives, the latest killings by the Nigerian Army reinforce the need for immediate reform of the entire security architecture in the country.

“We join Nwaorieubi communities to demand justice for the dead, the injured and for grieving families who lost their loved ones,’’ an NGO, Spaces for Change said in a statement by Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri,  the Executive Director and given to Persecondnews.

Spaces for Change strongly condemned the killings in a reprisal attack by the Army after some hoodlums, who hijacked the #EndSARS protests shot some soldiers at the military checkpoint at Ubomiri.

In a gun duel with hoodlums, Police Corporal Godwin Elkana and two soldiers — Sergeant Onyema and Sergeant Clark — lost their lives while others escaped.

According to witnesses, a group of unidentified hoodlums in a white Toyota Hiace bus shot an unnamed police escort at Eziama Junction, Orodo and thereafter moved to Nwaorieubi Police Division at Mbaitoli council headquarters where they shot sporadically into the air and also set two blocks of police residential quarters ablaze.

“The hoodlums moved on to the military checkpoint at Ubomiri, where they also engaged the soldiers in a gun duel. Unfortunately, Corporal Godwin Elkana of the Nigerian police force and two soldiers— Sergeant Onyema and Sergeant Clark—lost their lives, while others escaped.

“After the attack, the group escaped through Orlu Road. Hours after the group bolted, heavily armed men of the Nigeria Army regrouped and returned to Mbaitoli in what seemed to be a reprisal attack and started raiding communities around Nwaorieubi vicinity- Awo Mbieri, Amawuihe Ubomiri, Ifakala, and Orodo axis.

“Chanting war songs proclaiming that the life of one soldier is equal to the life of 40 civilians, they fired live bullets at everybody and everything in sight, unleashing terror of unimaginable proportions in the community,’’ some of the witnesses said.

The fleeing residents that were felled and injured by bullets included 21-year-old Chiedozie Onwumere (male); who was shot at close range, Mr Chisom Onyeagubo, who rushed to assist Chiedozie Onwumere was equally shot and both died instantly.

It was learnt  that the soldiers took away their bodies. Mr Chisom Onyeagubo left behind, his four children and a pregnant wife.

Others murdered are Mr Godwin Agomuo from Okpofe Ezinihitte Mbaise, who until his death, was  the Director of Finance and Administration at Imo State Unversal Basic Education Board, Mr Obumneke Dioku from Umudurualoka, Ifakala was shot at and is currently hospitalized; Onyinyechi Ugwuegbu from Amawuihe Ubomiri; Evangeline Opara from Ofekata Orodo and Augustine Mkporogwu from Ofekata Orodo.

Spaces for Change said since the dark Wednesday, residents have fled their homes, fearing further violent attacks by men of the Nigeria Army.

Mr Henry Nwawuba, the lawmaker of Mbaitolu/Ikeduru federal constituency in the House of Representatives, confirmed the tragic incident and said he had immediately contacted the Brigade Commander, Brig.-Gen.Tukur, to halt further reprisal.

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