Gunmen perceived to be joint security operatives, on Saturday, stormed Umuonyeoka Ihitteafoukwu and Okponkume communities in the Ahiazu Mbaise local government area of Imo State.
According to a report by Punch, the gunmen razed houses belonging to suspected members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the security wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The report said the security operatives had arrived in seven vehicles and headed to the homes of their targets.
However, they got angry when they did not meet the suspected IPOB/ESN members at home, so they proceeded to set the houses ablaze.
An indigene of the community simply identified as Emmanuella said her grandma was injured during the raid and had gone into a coma.
In a statement, Emeka Obasi, who is an indigene of the area condemned the manner the operation was carried out.
His statement read, “In the early hours of Saturday 12th February 2022, Umuonyeoka, a quiet and peaceful community in Ihitteafoukwu town, was ruffled with a seemingly Gestapo style of invasion by armed men suspected to be law enforcement agents, who came in seven cars, shooting sporadically and headed to the compound of the Madus.
“It was alleged that they came to apprehend one Mr Uche Madu, who is alleged to be a member of the ESN group but when they couldn’t get him, all hell was let loose and they descended on the country home of his siblings, Sonyval and Chinonso Madu, which they set ablaze without allowing even a single pin to be evacuated from the building.”
Another source from Ihitteafoukwu autonomous community disclosed that the security men stormed the house of one Ekene, popularly known as Ekeson, a known vigilante in the community.
The source said the security operatives apprehended him while he was trying to escape and later returned to set his family house ablaze, along with three neighbouring houses in the compound.
He said, “Unidentified security men came to Okponkume, arrested Ekeson and burnt down their house and neighbours’. It’s believed the security men are after ESN members.”
A video circulating online shows as Ekeson’s family house was burning and as family members and good-spirited individuals were trying to put out the fire, a voice could be heard saying, “See this house has burnt, people’s property has burnt to ashes.”
Another video shows Chinomso Madu’s house burning. Chinomso is the brother of Uche Madu, who the operatives were there to apprehend. When they could not find the brothers, they burnt the house.
A video in another video is heard saying, “This is what we are seeing now. The house of our brother, Chinomso Madu. See how security operatives set it on fire and watched it burn, they came with seven cars. This is what we are seeing in our land.”