Residents of Umualumaku community in Imo State’s Ehime Mbano Local Council were left to tally their losses in the aftermath of retaliatory actions carried out by unidentified individuals suspected to be military personnel last Wednesday.
Not long ago, the community experienced an invasion by unknown assailants who targeted personnel from the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigerian Police, and Army who were on official duty in the area.
Reports indicate that about five officers conducting joint patrol duties were ambushed and their vehicles (two Hilux) set ablaze.
As a result of concerns over potential counterattacks by security forces, members of the community evacuated the area.
In protest against the violence perpetrated against their colleagues, security agents descended upon the community, setting vehicles, residences, shops, hotels, and restaurants ablaze.
In response, Athan Achonu, the Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate in the upcoming elections in Imo State, called upon President Bola Tinubu to intervene and prevent further loss of life among the community members.
Achonu also appealed to Governor Hope Uzodimma to extend assistance to the affected residents by supporting the reconstruction of their homes, stores, and goods that were destroyed during the military’s assault.
He further urged the General Officer Commanding of the 82 Division in Enugu, the Brigade Commander of the 34 Field Artillery in Obinze, and the state’s Commissioner of Police to rein in their personnel and cease retaliatory actions against the villagers. He expressed his deep regret that two of the deceased security officers had accompanied him during his recent political campaigns in Aboh Mbaise, Ezinihitte Mbaise, and surrounding areas.
He said: “The attack that happened is pure lawlessness, it shows there is no rule of law in this country. I have been supporting the police, the Directorate of State Service (DSS) and military over the years, it is unfortunate that this happened.
On the reprisal attacks, he said: “The GOC should call his boys to order. The essence of governance is to protect the people. Government should lead by example. I am calling on Governor Hope Uzodimma to rebuild the places destroyed. They are not the ones who killed the security personnel,” Achonu added.
Similarly, the governorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the state’s forthcoming election, Tony Ejiogu, has condemned the killing of the security personnel and reprisal attacks on the community, calling for the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators to serve as deterrent to others.