OWERRI — Houses are being razed in Nigeria’s Imo state as government forces kill and arrest civilians in a bid to quell secessionist activities in eastern Nigeria.
No fewer than 23 houses were razed by Nigerian forces between 4 and 26 June 2021 in Imo State and other parts of the eastern region, where unidentified assailants carried out a series of attacks against police officers and electoral body commission facilities.
Police had hurriedly accused a local vigilante group, Eastern Security Network (ESN) of being responsible for the attacks, but the non-state security group and some elders in the Biafra region denied the allegation.
The Nigerian forces claim which said its operations and ongoing raid are aimed at tracking down and decisively dealing with members of the ESN, alongside a separatist group known as the Indigenous People of Biafra ( IPOB) which the Nigerian government had vowed to “crush”, has transformed to look more like genocide as they continue to target the homes of civilians, arrest and kill civilians they claim to be “terrorists”.
On June 11, 2021; Igbo Elders Council, condemned the attacks on civilians in the region, and called for urgent action to stop the “genocide”.
“Security agencies now indiscriminately invade private homes at odd hours, in the same guise of fishing out presumed IPOB and ESN members. They arrest men and sometimes shoot innocent and hapless youths,” said Chairman of the group, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, who is a former governor of Anambra State.
Meanwhile, residents confirmed to Gazette Africa that most of the razed houses are not hiding places for ESN, as state forces claim.
“Most of those arrested are not members of the ESN, the houses and properties they destroy do not belong to the ESN. They are just the houses and properties of families in the community who are now displaced,” said a native whose village was raided last week.
A lawyer, Jude Lekan, described the military raid in the eastern region of Nigeria as a state-sponsored provocation and ethnic genocide against the Igbo people following their quest for an independent state known as Biafra.
“Why is the police and military too desperate to crush ESN and the nonviolent members of the IPOB when violent Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram terrorists are causing insecurity in Nigeria by kidnapping, killing dozens civilians, including soldiers, police, and are walking freely without being touched?. The truth is, there is more to this, it is genocide to silence the Igbo people simply because they are demanding Biafra, ”Lekan said.
Aloy Ejimakor, a lawyer and expert in international law, said government forces killed more civilians in the ongoing raid than Fulani jihadist herders killed in the Biafra region.
“NDIGBO have lost more lives from the ongoing extrajudicial killings in SE than it could’ve lost in the same period from HERDSMEN attacks. I’ve said it before but let me say it again: Nigeria is the reason for Biafra,” Ejimakor said via a tweet obtained by Gazette Africa.
Gazette Africa has gathered from natives whose family members were been wrongly arrested and airlifted to Abuja, that the police authorities are demanding no less than 1.5 million naira to release the victims.
Despite evidence, testimony and reports of wrongdoing, Faruk Yahaya, head of the Nigerian army, on June 24, 2021, ordered soldiers deployed in Imo and other parts of the Biafra region to redouble their efforts in the fight against the separatist group IPOB, of which the majority of civilians in the region are members.
Kenyan mob lynches ‘bloodthirsty vampire’ child killer
Kenyan villagers on Friday lynched a man believed to be a “bloodthirsty vampire” child murderer, days after the self-confessed serial killer escaped from police custody, officials said.
Masten Milimo Wanjala was arrested on July 14 over the disappearance of two children, but in a chilling confession, admitted to killing at least 10 others over a five-year period, “sometimes through sucking blood from their veins before executing them”, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) said at the time.
The 20-year-old was due for a court appearance Wednesday in Nairobi over the cold-blooded murders which targeted 12- and 13-year-old children, when officers noticed during the morning roll call that he had disappeared.
But a mob caught up with him Friday after he was identified by schoolgoing children at his rural home in Bungoma, more than 400 kilometres (250 miles) from the police station he had escaped from.
“He comes from this area and so the children saw him and knew it was him and that is when information spread around and locals started pursuing him,” area administrator Bonface Ndiema said.
“In the end he ran into a neighbour’s house but he was flushed out and lynched.”
Police had in July described Wanjala’s arrest as a major breakthrough in an investigation into a spate of disturbing child disappearances in the East African country.
His victims were drugged and drained of their blood and some of them strangled, police said.
– ‘Submerged in sewers’ –
According to police, Wanjala’s first victim was a 12-year-old girl he kidnapped five years ago in Machakos county east of Nairobi.
The murder of his next victim in western Kenya sparked protests, with locals torching the house of the person they suspected killed the boy.
“Unbeknownst to some of the worried families, their children were long executed by the beast and their remains dumped in thickets. Others were submerged in sewer lines in the city and left to rot away,” the DCI said in July.
The bodies of several children feared to have died at Wanjala’s hands have yet to be found.
Three officers who were on duty at the Nairobi police station where he was held were arrested this week on allegations that they either aided or “neglected to prevent” his escape.
A court ordered their release on bail on Friday as a probe into the escape gets under way.
Police spokesman Bruno Shiosho told AFP they have launched a forensic investigation into the identity of the lynched man.
“The locals have said it is him… For now we can confirm that a man locals say is Masten Wanjala who was on the run has been lynched in Bungoma,” he said.
Security guards held hostage as bandits attack Govt building in Nigeria
Two security officers were held hostage on Monday when gunmen attacked the Local Government Service Commission in Nasarawa state, north-central Nigeria.
The two security guards, confirmed to be members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), were tied with a rope by the bandits who stole valuables from the building.
Rammatu Julde, the permanent secretary of the Local Government Services Commission, who disclosed the incident, said no life was lost in the attack.
Julde said the State Civil Service Commission, which is beside the Local Government Service Commission, had also been overrun.
Two AK-47 rifles belonging to the security officers were also seized by the bandits who left the security personnel they were holding hostage, said Jerry Victor, public relations officer of the NSCDC, who confirmed the incident.
How soldiers slaughtered civilians, raze homes in eastern Nigeria
Three civilians were killed in a raid by government forces on the community of Izombe in Imo State, southeastern Nigeria.
At least 70 houses were set on fire in the attack that took place last weekend in the restive region where separatist movement continues.
Videos circulating on social media show soldiers shouting “kill anyone you see” as they attack civilians and burn houses in the community.
A security source who spoke to Gazette Africa said the problem started after youths burned a military van over a disagreement on oil bunkering.
“They also killed a soldier during the incident,” said the security source.
Fleeing residents, who confirmed the incident to Gazette Africa, said violence erupted when soldiers killed one civilian and injured others.
“When the soldiers killed the young man, people got angry and burned their vehicle,” said a resident Adanne Thompson, who added that the soldiers later returned with “17 military vehicles, including armored tanks” and razed houses.
“They killed three people, other villagers are still missing,” said Francis Uchenna, who disclosed that the palace of the traditional leader of the community was also set on fire.
Violent attacks and military assaults have left many civilians dead in the eastern region of the country where government forces have declared war on secessionists who are calling for a referendum on an independent state known as Biafra.
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