The people of Orsuihitteukwa Clan in the Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State have bemoaned the wanton attacks, abductions and killing of innocent indigenes as well as destruction of property in the clan.
They accused personnel of the Nigeria Army of carrying out the mayhem on their community and called on the federal government and international agencies to help halt their annihilation.
Addressing a news conference in Owerri, Imo State on Wednesday, September 21, the people said they are yet to establish the rationale behind the determination of the security agencies particularly the Army to wipe them out.
The Attorney of Orsuihitteukwa Clan, A. C. Ibekaeme reeled out a catelogue of murders, abductions and destructions which the Army has visited on the people in the recent times.
Ibekaeme disclosed that soldiers commenced military action on the clan on February 17, 2021, killing two.men and one girl.
According to him, the soldiers, who invaded the clan in Hilux vans, Armoured Personnel Carrier and helicopter gunships unleashed sporadic bombardments along the community’s Lilu and Orsumoghu border, destroying houses in the community.
Ibekaeme said the soldiers continued their onslaught the following day being February 18 in what they later learnt was a fight against insecurity and the Eastern Security Network, ESN, the security arm of the separatist movement, Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
The lawyer submitted that the community was shocked to the bone marrow to witness such military actions going by the peaceful disposition of her people.
He added that the community has known no peace since the February 17 invasion as the soldiers have carried out more attacks on the natives.
According to the attorney, the military personnel launched more attacks on the community on September 13, 2921, killing three youths namely Chima Nchoje, 18 years, Chima Dike and his brother.
He also disclosed that the soldiers killed Scholar Orsuamaeze, Obinna Nwanoneze, who was returning from church and two others on November 5, 2021.
Ibekaeme stated that a joint military taskforce comprising personnel of the Department of State Service, DSS, police and Ebubeagu struck the community on December 13, 2021 , killing a former administrator of Orsu Local Government Area, Williams Ezeasor and raided his home.
According to him, the invaders also whisked away 32 youths who were branded cannibals and said to have been found in a dungeon with human parts.
He revealed that a protest rally by women thereafter resulted in six of the abducted youths being released three days after and 27 others released later.
The lawyer disclosed that two of youths are still been held in captivity till date.
He informed that the Orsuihitteukwa Clan has also witnessed more blood-letting this year.
He listed Nonso Ugochukwu Izuegbu, Ugochukwu Obianeli and Nicholas Onwuanaegbule as some of the indigenes slaughtered this year in the community.
According to Ibekaeme, while Izuegbu and Obianeli were killed at their block moulding site, Onwuanaegbule was shot dead while pleading with the soldiers not to burn down his electrical material shop.
The attorney said the most devastating attack on the community happened on September 17, 2022 when soldiers burnt down all shops and stalls at the community’s Ekeututu International Market valued at N100billion.
Ibekaeme who said the community is at present bleeding profusely disclosed that the youths of the community have fled out of fear of summary execution in the hands of soldiers while some of their women have been rendered childless and widows.
Also speaking, the President General of EtitiOrsu, Chief Benedict Nwajiobi bemoaned the mayhem visited on his people.
He disclosed that his people presently live in fear more so when rumours of fresh attacks by the soldiers are rife.
The president general regretted that they were being treated as orphans in their own country.
Some victims of the incessant attacks also narrated their ordeals since the pounding on the community started.
Paul Obianeli disclosed that he has lost his source of livelihood following the burning down of the Ekeututu International Market as all his stalls were destroyed.
Paul, whose brother was killed by the soldiers on August 30, 2022 wondered the type of business which the perpetrators of the mayhem want him to be doing now to make a living after setting his stalls ablaze.
Chigozie Mbagu said those of them still living in the community do not have any place to flee to for safety.
Mbagu said; “We don’t anywhere to run to. That’s why we are still staying behind. We sleep in fear. Our shops and goods have been burnt”
Philomena Nwannakwe had her husband, Pius Nwannakwe whisked away since August 6, 2022 at about 4:00am.
Similar fate also befell Celestina Ameti and Hope Ameti. The whereabouts of their husbands abducted by security operatives on August 6, 2022 are still unknown.
The women don’t know whether their husbands are still alive or they have become widows.
Ibekaeme pointed out that the community doesn’t support or condone criminality but takes exception to the measure being taken by soldiers who would not isolate defenceless and unarmed youths, women, children and the aged in their fight against perceived miscreants.
He insisted that the right thing to do is for the soldiers to go after miscreants instead of destroying homes, killing their youths, wives and children in their homes.
The attorney beckoned on the Imo State government to withdraw soldiers from the community if there is no plan to annihiliate the people.
While urging the soldiers to release indigenes who are still in their custody or hand them over to the appropriate authorities for prosecution, Ibekaeme requested the federal government, international agencies and public-spirited individuals to assist victims of the unholy war against the community to get back on their feet.
Orsuihitteukwa clan is made up of EtitiOrsu, Orsuihitteukwa Ancient Kingdom and Ihitteukwa Orsu.
It has boundaries with Awo-Idemili, Eziawa and Ihittenansa in Orsu LGA as well as Lilu and Orsumoghu communities in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State.