From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri and Magnus Eze, Enugu
Igbo youths under the aegis of the Conglomeration of Igbo Youths have warned those behind the crisis in Orlu, Imo State to cease fire in the interest of peace.
This is even as the youth group has alleged that some politicians from Orlu and Okigwe zone, which identity they refused to mention, were sponsors of the violence.
Addressing newsmen yesterday, President of the group who is also President General,Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL), Goodluck Ibem, said Igbo are highly refined people and therefore such violence witnessed in Orlu was uncalled for.
“Its high time Igbo land stopped being turned into war zone for no just reason. All parties involved must stop forthwith with all mindless display of mafia tendencies. Igbo people are highly refined and civilised, hence the shocking surprise of the whole unfortunate incident. We are known for peaceful and progressive conducts in our daily dealings.We condemn in the strongest terms, any killings of any Nigeria security operatives that is on legitimate duty. We also frown at any unprofessional conduct from Nigerian security operatives that might have helped in fuelling the crisis.”
Meanwhile, a pressure group, Orlu Political Action Committee (OPAC) and some residents of Orlu senatorial zone, including a foremost traditional ruler, yesterday, decried increasing cases of human rights violations in the area by security forces sent to maintain peace.
Various verified and unverified videos depicting human rights abuses by security forces have continued to emerge from the town even as Imo Governor, Hope Uzodimma had declared a curfew on 10 local government areas.
A statement by National President of OPAC, Collins Opurozor, called on the Federal Government to immediately withdraw the security forces to deescalate tension.
OPAC lamented that the people of Orlu had not slept in their homes as a conflict that allegedly occurred in the forests between IPOB and Nigerian forces was unjustifiably being punished on innocent residents of an otherwise peaceful town.
Also, traditional ruler of one of the affected communities in Orlu Council Area, who pleaded not to be named, told Daily Sun on telephone that there was the need for the government to engage local vigilance groups in a dialogue to end the crisis.