Rampaging Soldiers kill scores of youths in Anambra

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Operatives of the Nigerian Army and Navy between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning of last week killed dozens of youths in Ogbaru communities in Anambra State.

Videos and pictures of the massacre showed abandoned corpses shot on foreheads, heart regions, stomach and back and penis region littered one over the community’s playground.

According to sources, the soldiers turned their guns on the defenseless and unarmed youths after they met fierce resistance from the supposedly gunmen said to have camped inside big river/swamp Forest of Obene-Ochuche/Umuzu/Okija divided by Ulasi River.

The soldiers who were mobilized from Ogbaru Naval Base and Onitsha 302 Artillery Regiment in twenty trucks, however, allegedly went inside Ossomala, Umunankwo and Obeagwa communities and shot every young male sighted in close range, labelling all of them as collateral damage.

Relatives were seen crying. Women were also seen carrying the corpses of their husbands on wheelbarrows.  In some videos soldiers were seen placing pump action guns on top of some of the citizens killed to probably justify the massacre or their labeling as “IPOB/ESN” fighters.

A security analyst and Chairman, Board of Trustees, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Emeka Umeagbalasi, in a statement, described the killings as genocide.

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Umeagbalasi said “no doubt that Ogbaru is one of the Anambra Council areas presently under the grip of syndicated criminal entities engaging in several nefarious activities including abductions, killings, armed robberies and ransom demands as well as counterfeiting ESN trademarked modes of operation by attacking security operatives and government facilities.

“But latest findings by Intersociety showed that the criminal entities are camped inside big river/swamp Forest of Obene-Ochuche/Umuzu/Okija divided by Ulasi River. The area covers Ogbaru Communities of Atani, Amiyi, Umuzu, Ochuche, Akiri-Ozuzu, Osamari, Umunankwo and Ogwuanaocha

Information available to Intersociety also has it that they also have camps at different forests in Umunankwo and Ogwuanaocha.

“Consequently, on the night of Tuesday, 28 June 2022, over twenty trucks of soldiers, arms and ammunition were mobilized and the areas were invaded in an aimless war grade operation and instead of the military personnel including Naval and Army Personnel from Ogbaru Naval Base and Onitsha 302 Artillery Regiment going into the affected Forest camps, they let loose on innocent locals, shooting them at close range including foreheads, chests, manhood and other terminal regions.

“Several were killed in the end as you might have seen in the videos of the aftermath of the invasion.

“The rampaging military personnel also went into villages and broke homes at late night, forcing scores to be killed and other innocent youths of the affected communities to escape through River Niger and others.”

The Board Chairman of the Intersociety explained that the pictures and videos of those slaughtered showed passersby, returning youth farmers and occupational others.

In their usual way referring to (security agencies), he said in order to justify their conduct atrocities, “attached pictures and videos showed how they placed pump action guns on body top of some of the victims and raided traditional religious sanctuaries and destroyed them or displayed their items to make their massacre pictorially trademarked their usually concocted “ESN/IPOB mayhem or attacks or terrorism”.

He further explained that the investigation conducted doesn’t show any evidence of the slain being killed in a gun duel as no single report of killing of soldiers or wounding them was recorded. “The sanctity of human lives was never prioritized or considered, likewise the principles of use of force.

“The pictures and videos attached clearly connote ‘egregious and industrial scale massacre of unarmed citizens’

“Our findings further showed that the slain could not have been armed members of the criminal entities because judging from the attached pictures and videos, nobody, not even relatives or friends of the slain would have dared nearing the corpses and wailing or screaming profusely or checking them if they are to be forest based members of the criminal entities or “Unknown Gunmen” especially the street criminal entities or counterfeiters.

“The pictures and videos also circumstantially indicated that the slain were members of defenseless locals and have nothing to do with “Unknown Gunmen” who the Nigerian security forces have severally and publicly acknowledged to bear charms preventing bullet penetration.

“Also, no armed person could have been shot at such close range and killed easily that way at his terminal region,” argued.