Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
Three persons from Echara community in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State have been declared missing by the people of the community.
They said that after the horrible attack in which seven family members from Okpeera village of the community were roasted to death along Abakaliki/Ikwo road, three boys from the area have remained missing.
This was disclosed by the community’s town union President, Nwonu Sunday, when the state governor, Chief David Umahi, visited the area to commiserate with the family who lost seven persons in the attack.
The deceased family members, according to a police source, were returning to Ikow from Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki where they attended the matriculation ceremony of the institution last month before they were attacked by suspected warlords in a renewed boundary dispute between Enyigba in Abakaliki LGA and Enyibichiri in Ikwo LGA of the state.
Nwonu narrated that the three boys were abducted the same day along the same axis of the road while they were returning from the same matriculation exercise on a motorcycle.
The community leader who gave out the names of the missing persons as Udoka Nteh, Chibunna Nkwuda, and Chukwuma Nwoba, said that information available to them has it that they were being held captive in a forest where they were tied to trees by their captors.
He therefore, appealed to the governor to prevail on their captors to free the three boys in the interest of peace.
“If the killing of the seven members of John Nweke’s family is what would bring permanent peace, we can’t question God, because he knows everything.
“But we want to appeal to the governor to ensure that our three youths who have been missing since the incident are released to us.
“We are hearing rumours that they are tied in a forest. Let them be released to us,” he appealed.
Also speaking, a community leader, Andrew Nteh, said that the community was passing through untold hardship because of the dispute and the attacks. He revealed that his son, Udoka, was one of the three missing boys.
He therefore, appealed to the relevant authorities especially the state government to rescue the trio alive. He said that the only way there could be permanent peace was for government to fish out the killers of their people who were returning from matriculation ceremony.
Umahi, who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Welfare and Religious Matters, Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali, consoled the bereaved family and the entire community for their loss.
He told the people that government had set up a judicial panel of inquiry to investigate the crisis and assured that anybody found culpable would face the wrath of the law, even as he assured that government would do everything within its powers to ensure lasting peace was restored to the area.