From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
The people of Orsu – Ihiteukwa in Orsu council area of Imo State, has lamented their ordeal in the hands of the military who had unceasing unleashed mayhem on the community since September of 2021.
The community also bemoaned last Saturday’s burning and destruction their market by the military.
Although , the state governor, Sen Hope Uzodimma has said that the Popular Eke Ututu Market in Orsu – Ihitte Ukwa which is one of the largest markets in the state, was burnt down by the military when it was discovered that bandits were producing improvised Explosive Devices ( IEDs) in a section of the market .
According to the Governor, report indicated that an Army Major working in the State recently fell victim to the IED planted at Eke Ututu as he was killed instantly after stepping on the locally manufactured explosive unknowingly.
However, the Attorney of the community , Barr. Chidi Tony Ibekaeme said that the people of the community have lost every thing, including their youths,homes, heritage and their market.
The Community’s Attorney who briefed Journalists yesterday in Owerri, Imo state capital said :”We lost everything, including our youths, our homes, our heritage and our market. What have we done to deserve this level of destruction?
“It is with deep sense of agony that we gather here (Owerri) today, to mourn the destruction of our community, in the light of sustained military attacks, bombing of our communities, killing of defenceless civilians and youths, and destruction of Eke Ututu Market.”
Continuing , “The net worth of the market is over N100 billion in goods and properties. We have borne the pains, anguish and losses occasioned by incessant bombardment of various segments of Orsuihiteukwa, by combined team of security operatives with equanimity, hoping that the hostilities would end one day.”
Ibekaeme who decried the precarious situation in the community disclosed that ,” the community’s ordeal started February 17, 2022, at about 4pm, when military Hilux vans, carrying combatant soldiers, armoured tanks and helicopter gunships, in war-like fashion, stormed the community, unleashing sporadic bombardments, along the community’s Lilu and Orsumoghu border, destroying houses and killed two men and one girl.”
He pointed out that ever since that fateful day that the community has not known peace as attacks on the community has continued unabated by security agents with loss of human lives, burning of houses and business concerns.
His words: “September 13, 2021, witnessed an unprecedented attack on the people, which culminated to the killing of three defenceless young men, 18-year old Chima Nchoje, from Eziama, Chima Dike and his brother, from Ihiteukwa.
“As if the September 13, 2021, was not enough, security operatives launched yet another attack on innocent people, killing and burning down houses and shops along the Orsumoghu road in USA and Ihiteukwa.”
After giving a graphic account of how, on November 5, 2021, Scholar Orsuamaeze, Obinna Nwanoneze and two others, who were returning from the church, were killed, Ibekaeme however, expressed regret that the tempo increased, when a joint military task force, DSS, police and Ebubeagu operatives struck the community again, December 13, 2021.
His words: “They went to the residence of one-time sole administrator of Orsu local government area, Engr. Williams Ezeasor, killed him in a most gruesome manner, raided houses and taking away over 32 youths, who were later tagged cannibals, found in a dungeon with human parts.
“Following protests by the mother’s, wives and sisters of the abducted youths on December 29, 2021, six were released three days after the protest, while 27 others were released much later, leaving two men, including Chukwuebuka Obinokwara, till date.”
Ibekaeme also recalled that Nonso Ugochukwu Izuegbu and Ugochukwu Obianeli, were killed in their block moulding site along Eke Ututu-Awo Idemili road.
The lawyer said: “Also eliminated on that day, was Mr. Nicholas Onwuanagbule from Ihuowerri Ubahaorsu, who was killed while pleading with soldiers not to burn his electrical materials shop.
“From the foregoing, you can appreciate the level of devastation, colossal loss of human and material resources, inflicted on the community.
“Our soil has been soaked in the blood of our youths. The air has been polluted with smoke from burnt structures, including human bodies. Our youths have fled the community for fear of being killed.
“Women have suddenly become childless, widows, ailing and dead. There is no doubt that our community is profusely bleeding in all fronts. The consequence of this unholy assault on our land is that our children are disoriented and some elders have died in anguish, without hope of burial by their children.” He lamented