One person was severely wounded and nine people including teenagers and community security personnel were “abducted” by the troops of the Nigerian Army during the invasion of Obeagu community in Ishielu local government area of Ebonyi State on Monday.
The troops who reportedly numbered over 100 ransacked houses and looted small businesses in the community, SaharaReporters has learnt.
It was gathered that after ransacking five villages in the community, and their farm settlements, the army “abducted” five members of community vigilantes that were set up after the gruesome Fulani herdsmen attacks that claimed 22 lives.
Cartridge guns some vigilantes and residents acquired after the armed herdsmen invasion of the community in March 2021 and October 2022 to defend themselves against further attacks were taken away along those abducted.
Some of those abducted are commercial motorcycle riders (okada) who were abducted with their passengers on the road to Nkalagu as that is the only means of transport in and out of the community when the invading soldiers were entering the community.
SaharaReporters had reported on Monday how the Nigerian soldiers invaded the community in search of members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), shooting sporadically and sacked residents of the community who fled to neighbouring Enugu communities.
Speaking to SaharaReporters, a resident of the community Odo Emeka, disclosed that a resident of the community and ex-soldier identified as Annayo Agbo, was abducted in his house in Amata village when the troops invaded.
In a short video seen by SaharaReporters on Tuesday, one of the persons the soldiers shot was thanking the Almighty God that he survived the onslaught.
The victim, a middle-aged man was heard saying in Igbo language; “Good morning my people, this is what we saw this morning. This is what Nigerian Army troops that invaded our community this morning did to me. I narrowly escaped. This hand you are seeing is aching from gunshot. Nobody in the community now knows where each person has run to.
“Everybody in the community knows that I came home on Saturday and buried my brother. And this morning Nigerian soldiers that supposed to defend and protect me and other people in the community wanted to kill. I committed no offense. I was inside my house and the invading soldiers were shooting directly into the house from all directions. Their intention was to massacre people but God in his infinite mercy saved my life.”
Another resident of the community, who gave his name as Odo-Odo Naweze, told SaharaReporters that his shop he just stocked with goods and drinks for the Christmas and New Year celebrations were looted by the soldiers.
“The soldiers drank 10 Cartons of beer and two creates of Malta. They also took away seven cartons of beer. I am still taking stocks now to know other things they took away. About 20 provisions stores were looted across the community. I am doing honest and legitimate business and Nigerian security personnel have looted, so government is encouraging me to go into crime.”
He added, “I am a graduate of mathematics for seven years without meaningful job and decided to come home to setup this business were I cannot rent. But what do I now get? Destruction by Nigerian government that could not provide job for me? If I am in the military I should be a major or captain but because I am an Igbo man I can’t be listed as a cadet in the Nigerian military.”
On October 13, 2022 SaharaReporters reported that armed herdsmen attacked the community, killed one person, wounded two and kidnapped three which the community paid millions in ransom to secure their release.
Armed herdsmen had also invaded the community on March 29, 2021 and killed 21 people, in which the federal government tagged reprisal attack for killing three cows in the community during the ENDSARS protest, which was perpetrated by youths from across the communities in the area. Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, had at the wake of the killing of the cows arrested leaders of the community and forced them to pay millions to the owners of the cows which they did.
Unfortunately, in all the invasions, neither the soldiers nor policemen intervened in the attacks. Till date security agencies had yet to arrest any of the assailants despite recovering a phone belonging to one of the assailants’ at one of scene of the attacks.
The recovered phone was later handed over to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, when he visited the community weeks after the massacre.
Meanwhile, Nigerian were yet to make any statement as to why the invasion and looting of the community by soldiers.
With the invasion, the Nigerian has set stage for another Fulani herdsmen attack in the community as guns some residents had acquired to defend themselves have been taking away. Also their security men have also been abducted.