Some communities in Orlu, Imo State, were gripped by fear, yesterday, as military men at checkpoints shot sporadically for several hours.
The shooting at Umuna and the Timber market junction on Orlu/Owerri road caused panic among the people who, he said, have since reclined to their various homes for fear of being harmed or killed.
“They have been shooting like this since morning, if they stop, they will continue again later, we don’t know why they are shooting but we are afraid, we don’t want to be a victim to their sporadic shootings.
“We don’t even know who to trust again that was how the shooting began the last time and some people were killed, they should take it easy, this place is not a war zone,” a source said.
Emmanuel Okeke, chairman of the traditional rulers institution described the shooting as a normal military routine to scare bandits and kidnappers who, he said, have become an issue in the state.
He urged the people to go about their normal business, saying there is no cause for alarm.
“Yes, I heard of the shooting but it is nothing to get scared about, this is just a way of announcing their presence to kidnappers and bandits because we are no longer talking about Eastern Security Network. Would they prefer the presence of the kidnappers to the presence of the military? They are only here to help us, so it does not call for panic, they should go about their usual businesses,” Okeke said.
In the same vain, following the killing of a businessman in Owerri, Noel Chigbu, and a student of the Imo State University, Divine Nnwanaeri, as well as others since the insecurity situation in the state assumed a new dimension, Coalition of South East Youth Leaders has alleged that the killings were deliberate to exterminate Igbo youths.
A statement by the President General of the Igbo youths, Goodluck Ibem, said the soft treatments on bandits and Boko Haram, while harassing agitators in the South East, was a clear indication of the claim.
“These killings and more in recent times are tangible proofs that the military men are on a secret mission to exterminate Igbo youths in the South East.
“The killing of armless agitators and pampering of Boko Haram terrorists is a clear testament that Ndigbo have been marked for extinction by the Nigerian military.
“The impunity with which soldiers and other security agencies deals with Igbo youths calls for serious concern. This is total harassment of Ndigbo and we reject it in its entirety.
“Igbo youths are being arrested by the army and branded them unknown gunmen and killed them. How do they know they are unknown gunmen,” Ibem said.
Ibem urged Igbo leaders, South East governors, senators, House of Representatives members and other political office holders from the zone to speak up in defence of their people.