By Phil Okose
No fewer than 2,000 Igbo have reportedly been abducted and about 500 of the abductees said to have either been killed or feared missing, according to a human rights organisation, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety.
According to the chairman of Intersociety, Nze Emeka Umeagbalasi who made the disclosure in Onitsha, Anabra state weekend, the abductees
included victims that were secretly arrested at ungodly hours, falsely and criminally labeled without conclusive investigations.
“It is also our finding that out of no fewer than 140 killed in the two regions of Southeast and South South by the named security operatives especially
soldiers and police since January 2021, at least 120 are independently found to be combatively uninvolved or victims of extra-judicial killings. The military and police killings involved not less than 40
killed in Imo, 30 in Akwa Ibom, 20 in Abia, 15 in Rivers, 13 in Anambra, 10 in Ebonyi, 8 in Cross River, 5 in Enugu and none in Delta”.
“All the States mentioned are collectively the victims of the military abductions and disappearances.”
He said that the above findings followed the Intersociety recent review of the ongoing ethnic and religious profiling and cleansing embarked upon by Nigerian military in the East particularly in the
States of Imo, Abia, Rivers, Ebonyi, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Delta and Cross River States that the military discreditably and questionably code-named, ‘Operation Restore Peace’.
The new review according to Umeagbalasi showed that Imo State topped the list of the abductees with no fewer than 500, followed by Abia, Ebonyi, Rivers and Akwa Ibom with average of 300 abductees. Anambra 200 and average of 100 abductees each for Cross River, Enugu and Delta States.
These abductions, killings, maiming, torture and disappearances by military and police also bear stark evidence of persecution, hate and crude policing and soldiering as 99 per cent of the victims cutting across the three heinous crimes are members of Christian faith, most of who belong to Igbo ethnic nationality, he stated further.
“Intersociety did not find any evidence showing that such violent clampdowns are also extended to members of Fulani Muslim population resident in the East whose jihadist elements have since 2016 killed over 400 rural and urban Igbo Christians and their neighbours and forcefully occupied over 500 of their farmlands, bushes and forests,” he further disclosed.
According to him further checks also indicated that the non indigenous Muslim population in the regions are pampered and treated sacredly by the drafted Muslim dominated and controlled security heads.
He accused soldiers of the Nigerian Army of being the most crude, brutish and unprofessional, accounting for many of the killings and most of the disappearances.
Buttressing his point further Umeagbalasi reiterated that, “in Imo State alone, soldiers accounted for many, if not most of the 40 deaths
including ten passers-by or residents of the State killed at Army road block and during patrols”.
“Soldiers also accounted for most of not less than 20 killings in Abia State; falsely labeled “IPOB/ESN members”.
“In the recent repelled ‘unknown gunmen’ attack at Army roadblock in Aba, for instance, soldiers including members of the reinforcement military squads opened fire and killed scores of passers-by including Keke riders and later labeled them “IPOB/ESN members”.
“This was after the attackers had retreated safely having been out-gunned”.
According to him, “during the recent Orlu shootout between soldiers and the ‘unknown gunmen’, out of eleven bodies displayed and labeled as “slain IPOB/ESN gunmen’, at least six were not combatively involved, same was the case in another attack that took place few days ago in Awka, where out of seven displayed slain bodies of “IPOB/ESN gunmen”, at least five were not combatively involved. Soldiers also shared same responsibility with police and SSS (DSS) in the area of late night house raids and instant killing of sleeping or resting citizens” he hinted.