No fewer than five persons have been killed and more 170 buildings burnt down by security operatives in Izombe, an oil bearing community in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State in the last two weeks.
Izombe and other adjourning communities like: Agwa, Ejemkwuru, Awa, Akabuo, Mgbele and Ogbaku have been recording incessant security challenges due to activities of criminal elements hiding under the banner of Eastern Security Network (ESN) militia group of IPOB in the areas.
However, government in a bid to checkmate the activities of the bandits deployed military personnel, police and Imo State owned Security operatives codenamed “Ebubeagu”.
But rather than help to engender peace and tranquility, the security operatives had turned hostile to residents of the areas mainly Izombe, Community Reporters learned.
The situation has adversely affected socio-economic and other activities as markets, schools and churches have been closed in Izombe for almost eight months now.
An indigene of Amakpurudere Izombe village who spoke on condition of anonymity said in an interview on Monday June 19, said that five natives of his village have been killed by these security operatives between June 7 and Monday June 19, 2023..
“The five persons so far killed in Amakpurudere Village alone were:Benjamin Nwadirigbo, Nwabu Onuigbo (aka Danvata),
Obieze Ajaere, Izuka Izuaghanwa and Chike Izuaghanwa”, the source said.
He added that some others were equally killed in other villages of Izombe like; Ndiawa, Ndioko, Orsu and Ugbele and Agwa a neighbouring community to Izombe.
“The combined team of police, Ebubeagu and the military had equally destroyed more than 170 buildings in various villages including over 45 houses in Amakpurudere Village alone”, he lamented.
The source who equally alleged that the security forces looted people’s properties, said that the situation has caused more than 90 per cent of the residents to flee the community.
“Many people have abandoned their homes since Wednesday June 7, and Monday June 12, 2023 that the security operatives killed Benjamin and four because of the level of fear they have instilled in the people with attendant destruction of buildings.
“As we speak, I no longer visit home just like many others in spite the information that our family house was among those destroyed”, he said.
According to him, the houses burnt down in Amakpurudere Village alone belong to the following: Emmanuel Chukwudoruo,
Romanus Obiagwu, Philip Okoronkwo, Ifeanyi Umezuruike, Canice Ogbonna, Herbert Nwoke, Late Lucky Nwoke, Lambart Ekejiuba, Simeon Ekejiuba, Sabastine Okereke, Emeka Awaeze
and Dom Iwuanyanwu.
Others whose houses were affected are: Benjamin Ohanyirim, Jerome Ohanyirim, Late Marcelinus Ogbonna, Lawrence Ogbonna, Calistus Ononiwu, Chief Alex Madubuko, Chief Oliver Ihejirika, Anthony Ihejirika, Alphonsius Ogbonna among others.
The source added that he only gave specific information about his village, adding that more than 170 buildings mentioned excluded those damaged last August in Ugbele Village, Eziama and other villages when the incessant attack began.
“The figure does not include over 150 buildings the military burnt in Umuokwu, Ndioko and Umuorji in October, 2021 when there was clash with the youths as a result of toll collected from crude oil bunkers.
“In fact if you visit Izombe, you will conclude that Imo State government really do not think good of Izombe in spite the viable economic status of the community before now”, he lamented.
He regretted that the community being one of the main oil bearing area and food basket of the state was being destroyed like “Carthage”, while exploitation of crude oil is in progress.
He appealed to the media to draw the attentions of Mr President, relevant international and national organisations such as Amnesty International and Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) to help the community out of the carnage going on in Izombe.
“We need urgent help because our people are suffering and dying. Our people are going through excruciating humanitarian crisis and this is very unimaginable.
“Many people can no longer feed, many no longer have their houses while hundreds had gone on exile looking for shelters and foods in other communities”, he lamented.