Residents of Atta, Obor, Umutanze and Okporo communities in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State have cried out that their generation may be wiped out by security agents in Nigeria.
The people claimed that some callous operatives of the Department of State Services, police and army have embarked on killing their youth and destroying houses since December 30, 2021.
According to a distress message by affected residents signed by Barrister N.S. Ezenwata, President, Orlu Indigenes for Peace Initiative, the villagers have begun deserting their ancestral homes over fears of being eliminated.
In a copy of the SOS message seen by news men on Tuesday, 25 young people are said to had been killed while over 60 houses have been burnt by security agents.
OIPI called on the heads of the police, DSS and army to investigate the heinous acts of these security operatives or it will engage human rights groups to intervene.
The statement reads, “The Orlu Indigenes for Peace Initiative hereby calls on the security agencies and Governor Hope Uzodinma to stop the prevailing mass killings and destruction of the indigenous communities of Atta, Obor, Umutanze and Okporo in Orlu, Imo State.
“We also call on the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba; the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Magaji Bichi, and the Chief of Army Staff, Faruk Yahaya, to constitute panels of investigation and fish out the officers and soldiers that are exhibiting impunity and lack of the knowledge of the rules of engagement in law enforcement when in Imo state particularly in Orlu Senatorial Zone. If not, we will launch multiple law suits against them to address the heinous crimes.
“Our people are desperately crying out to bring the attention of Nigerians of good will and the international human rights organisations to the ongoing indiscriminate mass killings and abductions of our male youths and incessant burning down of buildings that are currently being perpetrated by the combined forces of the DSS, soldiers and the Imo State government set-up Ebubeagu security outfit under the guise of combatting the unkwown gunmen.
“This operation has been going on since Thursday, 30th December 2021 to the extent that these hitherto peaceful communities have been deserted hence turned into ghost towns.
“So far, the lives of over 25 able-bodied young men, who are sons of the soil and known to many as hard working and law abiding home dwellers have been cut short by these marauding and trigger happy forces.
“Over 60 houses have been burnt down and the forces have marked on over 80 houses to be burnt or demolished, claiming that they belong to their targets.”
The people blamed Imo State governor, Uzodinma for playing politics with the lives of the people.
“If the Imo State Government and the forces believe that the so called criminals they are after reside in the communities they should use their intelligence to fish them out individually and make them face the law instead of resorting to committing mass killings and arson against the entire local population.
“The most painful part of it is that all the DSS officers and soldiers committing these atrocities are Hausa and Fufulde speaking Fulani Muslims from the North. This is a crime against humanity.
“The Imo State Government should be prevailed to understand that its utmost constitutional priority is the security of it citizens and not playing politics with the lives and property of Imolites.
“Please share this widely before it’s too late for these communities. We do not want another Oyigbo, Odi, Zaki Biam or Asaba in the heart of Igboland,” it added.