Residents of Oriendu in Umualumaku Umueze in Ehime Mbano local government area in Imo State have fled their homes for safety after soldiers reportedly invaded the community following the killing of eight security operatives by unknown gunmen on Tuesday.
According to some residents who narrated their experiences to journalists on Wednesday, the rampaging soldiers destroyed properties, burnt down buildings and shops during the invasion.
The alleged invasion came after gunmen ambushed a joint taskforce team comprising soldiers, policemen and men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps in two patrol vehicles, killed the occupants and set the vehicles ablaze.
A resident who spoke in a viral video of the rampage, said they were being punished for what they knew nothing about.
According to him, several shops, buildings, properties, food shops and bars were allegedly razed by the rampaging soldiers seeking justice for their colleagues.
“We have suffered in this community. What do they want us to do in this community? That a crime was committed in this community does not mean that it is Ehime Mbano people that did it. You people should come to our rescue. Shops, bars, event centres and food stalls were all burned down today by the military men of the Nigeria,” he said.
“The people they destroyed their shops; were they the ones that committed the crime? Please, we are suffering in this community; leave us alone because things are bad. People are crying and asking what did we do?”
He added that some indigenes of the community had fled into the bush while others are living in fear.
“The destruction of some shops and drinking joints today in Ehime Mbano by soldiers is not necessary. Shops and tents belonging to pap sellers were destroyed,” another person said.
“They should investigate, arrest those behind the killing of the soldiers and bring them to book and not going setting traders shops and buildings on fire.
“The entire place is boiling; I had to close my shop and leave to avoid problem. The heavy presence of soldiers along the road is worrisome.”
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