by Hon Declan Emelumba Commissioner for Information and Strategy
Security information has it that 80 % of the planning of the attack on the correctional facility in Owerri,carried out early this year, was done and carried out by criminals from Agwa Izombe axis of the state. Most of the prisoners who escaped from the correctional centre consequently returned to the area and constituted themselves into a security nuisance. Therafter, there were repeated attacks on police stations in the area. Many police men were killed and their arms taken away in the process. In the last last seven months, there were three attacks on police stations in the area. The last was on August 14th and three Ak 47 rifles were carted away, with ammunition.
Against this background, Soldiers received a distress call on friday that criminals were harassing the area and that one of them was with an AK 47 rifle. The closest military patrol around there went in immediately to arrest the situation from potential escalation.It was learnt later that the man who had the Ak 47 was one chinonso Ihezue, alias Obele, an escapee from the correctional centre. However, when the soldiers confronted the youths at the scene , Obele allegedly refused to hand over the rifle but tried instead to shoot the soldiers,who in return then gunned him down.
The youths consequently mobilised and attacked the soldiers, captured two of them ,stripped them of their uniforms and clubbed them to death. They abandoned their corpses and took away their Ak 47 rifles containing 120 live ammunition. The two soldiers who managed to escape called for reinforcement. The reinforcement came and started searching the area for the rifles. They saw military uniforms in some buildings and burnt some houses when they couldn’t find those who clubbed their men to death. Incidentally, one of the soldiers killed comes from Mbaise in Imo state. He was posted from maiduguri, where he battled with Boko Haram insurgents for four years and half.
Because the Imo state government promptly intervened, the situation was quickly put under control.On Saturday the State police commissioner,on the orders of the Governor of Imo State, led a team of police men to the scene and tried to calm the tensed situation. This led to the initiation of a peace meeting between the army and the community. An agreement was reached that the three stolen Ak 47 would be returned to the soldiers within 7 days. This made the soldiers to withdraw from the area.