From Magnus Eze, Enugu, Stanley Uzoaru and George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Residents of Orlu in Imo State, yesterday, lamented the huge losses they suffered from the clash between the army and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) which left many houses burnt and some lives lost.
Though the police had deployed more operatives to the area to restore order, most indigenes complained that they had to sleep in the bush yesterday for fear of reprisals.
They also companied that the crisis which led to the burning of shops and imposition of curfew by the state government had negatively affected their sources of livelihood.
Daily Sun learnt that major markets such as Orie Okporo and Ogbo Osisi were all shut down as a result of the curfew imposed on seven councils of Njaba, Nkwerre, Orlu, Isu, Nwangele and Orsu by Governor Hope Uzodimma.
But it was the shut down of most markets in remote villages that affected the economic activities the most.
Residents of Nkume in Njaba Council Area said though the commencement of the curfew was from 6pm to 6am, but they lamented that soldiers had not allowed anybody to step out outside their homes.
A resident who identified himself as Obummike, said soldiers had taken over his community as nobody was allowed to step out of his compound.
It was the same situation in Umutanze and Okorpro communities in Orlu where the people have remained indoors.
A source in Isu Council revealed that soldiers and police may have commenced a house-to-house search for members of the ESN, but pointed out that ESN members had disappeared into the forest even before the curfew on Monday.
Meanwhile, there was pandemonium in some of the local governments areas in Orlu zone, as a police helicopter hovered around the communities in search of members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
A source from the area said the helicopter was first sighted at Ogboro, Orlu where most of the incidents occurred as it hovering below its usual height making residents to scamper for safety inside bushes.
“All of us were afraid we don’t know if they have come to bomb us and that is why we have to run inside nearby bushes.”
However, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, George Obiozor, yesterday, said the apex Igbo organisation was already intervening in the clash between the military and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) floated by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
Obiozor, who declined to react to the skirmishes which have claimed many lives in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State, when contacted on telephone, said that he was working out something in respect of the crisis rocking the communities. He insisted that he would not speak more at the period.
Meanwhile, a socio-cultural organization; Orluzurumee Cultural Union, has condemned the killings, maiming and harassment of the people by the military and other security agencies; while expressing worry that the sad development which has recorded overwhelming fatality was being under-reported.
Interim Management Committee Chairman of the group, Prof. Protus Uzoma, who addressed journalists, stated that the security agencies were supposed to have predicted the crisis ahead and forestalled it since there had been tension in Orlu than any other part of Imo State in the past one month.
He called on Imo Governor, Hope Uzodinma, to as a matter of urgency, ensure the immediate evacuation of military and paramilitary men from Orlu to douse tension and stop further harassment, intimidation and psychological trauma of the people.
Also, a member of the group and former Commissioner in the state, Ejike Uche, alleged that military men had been moving from house to house killing innocent people in the area and therefore, decried the barbaric act.