By Freedom Ajala, Abakaliki
A 30 year-old man, Nwaelem Chibueze has recounted how he lost his 65 year-old father, Nwaelem Ijebe and his elder brother, Innocent Nwaelem to the invasion of his Oferekpe-Enyigba community in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State by some gun-wielding hoodlums alleged to have overrun their village from a neighbouring Enyibichiri-Ikwo community at about 12 mid-day last Sunday.
His 21 year-old sister, Odinakachukwu, is yet to be seen .
Narrating his ordeal to Journalists in an interview, Mr. Nwaelem said he had gone to their farm last Sunday with his deceased father to take some yams they wanted to eat. “In the process, I went to carry some fire-wood from the farm. As I was coming back home, I saw many people in our compound. One carried my sister and held her by the jugular. My brother that was standing with my father ran. And some of them shot him and he died. They were dragging my father away and he was crying leave me, leave me. When I saw them, I realized there was trouble and I had to run into hiding.”
He claimed that despite the fact that the hoodlums were many in number, he could vividly recognize three of them as people from their neighbouring Ikwo village (names withheld).
The survivor recounted that his father’s body was later seen lying lifelessly around their house while his sister who was abducted by the hoodlums who also destroyed a house he had recently built in the village in addition to razing down his father’s compound was yet to be seen.
While calling for justice and assistance from the security agencies and the government, Nwaelem maintained that his compound was set ablaze by the hoodlums after they had carted away all their belongings.
He said the villagers heard the sound of gunshots for about 30 minutes and thereafter, the lifeless body of his brother was discovered and handed over to the police while his father’s terribly decomposed body was buried by the villagers on the orders of the police after taking a snap-shot of the body.
Also speaking, an in-law to the victim, one Uguru Celestine narrated that the said Innocent Nwaelem is a husband to his sister, one Njideka Uguru who had recently put to bed. “I want the State government to please, help us. Everybody is on the run and the whole village has been deserted. The government should help us fix our five villages that were destroyed, including our only public Community Primary School, Oferekpe, he said.
Mr. Uguru listed the affected villages to include; Ndiegu-Enyigba, Egufuta-Enyigba, Uwalakada-Enyigba, Enyadilogu-Enyigba and Oferekpe-Enyigba.
He added that they were surprisedby the attack as they had lived in peace with their Ikwo neighbours since 1992 when they last witnessed an attack from them during which his own father was shot-dead. He said some of the suspected assailants being their neighbours even come to eat and drink in their community.
Mr. Uguru alleged that some politicians of Ikwo extraction may have capitalized on a land dispute between the two neighbouring communities to unleash mayhem on them in a way they least anticipated.
A member of the Eze cabinet, Chief Sunday Nweogu alleged that soldiers attached to a neighbouring Azu-ofia Edda community which had also been witnessing attacks from their Obubra neighbours in Cross River State had intervened and arrested about 14 suspects with guns and charms but they were surprised at the rumours that they had been released. He said he could identify some of the suspects when he met with the soldiers as people of Ikwo community while some are from Cross River.
He further called on the security agencies and the government to do more to ensure they are adequately protected as the community had been witnessing very porous security despite that it had become a security flash-point.
Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, Ebonyi State Command, DSP Jude Madu however said the police was yet to be intimated on any arrest of suspects in connection with the incident.
Meanwhile, a security source (names withheld) attached to the combined team of police and army on a peace-keeping operation at the troubled community has made chilling revelations on how his men uncovered a hide-out in a boundary between Ndiegu-Okpoitumo Izzi and neighbouring Ojitum in Cross River where some hoodlums were caught eating some fresh human parts and they were arrested with a fresh human-head.
According to the source, the combined security team had made the breakthrough shortly after they invited both communities for a prayer session before a peace-meeting. The source said they succeeded following a tip-off from a small child who came to report to them that his father was cooking some human parts inside their compound with some people. It was following the tip-off that the suspects, numbering 24 in number were arrested and handed over to an undisclosed team for further investigation.