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Monday, December 11, 2023

Oil bunkering: 3 feared dead, houses burnt as soldiers raid Imo community



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By Favour Goodness

No fewer than three persons were feared dead on Friday as soldiers raided Izombe community in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo.

It was also gathered that many houses, including the palace of the traditional ruler of the Aborshi-Izombe community, Pius Muforo, were burnt down.

Although the exact cause of the raid is still sketchy at the time of filing this report, it was gathered that Izombe, Eziorsu and Osobod communities have been enmeshed in oil bunkering operations.

Speaking on the development, a community leader from Umuokwu village, Mr James Imo, claimed that over 50 houses have been burnt down.

“I was informed that two military men were killed and their vehicle set ablaze after the two military personnel had killed one young man, Chukwunonso Iherue, in Umuokwu-Izombe.

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“The problem arose from misunderstanding between the youth and soldiers over crude oil bunkering activities,” Imo said.

He alleged that the angry youth fought back, overpowering the soldiers and as well took their guns and burnt their vehicle.

Imo said the military personnel ran to the palace of the traditional ruler for refuge, but the angry youth stormed the palace, brought them out and killed them.

However, it was gathered that the traditional ruler’s palace and many other buildings at Umuokwu village in Izombe were allegedly burnt down in the crisis.

Also, it was gathered that the incident led to a reinforcement of soldiers, who raided the area.

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Another source, who pleaded anonymity, said: “I am calling from inside a hideout in the bush now.

“Some soldiers attacked our community in retaliation over 18 Hilux vans carrying petrol and three war tanks.

“My cousin living next to our compound told me that her house was burnt down after which the soldiers went and burnt down Chief C.A. Onyeukwu’s building,” the source said.

Efforts to get a confirmation of the incident from the Public Relations Officers of the Police and Nigeria Army proved abortive as they both declined comments on the incident.

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