From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Izombe community in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State is presently counting their losses after soldiers invasion of the area on Friday.
Speaking on the incident, the traditional ruler of Aborsi-Izombe, HRH Eze Pius Muforo while urging the State government to thoroughly investigate the main cause of the incident, disclosed that at least 70 houses,15 vehicles an 25 motorbikes were razed in the crisis.
The monarch also said 2 soldiers and a youth from the community were also killed in the melee. “I gathered that one youth and two soldiers were killed.
“It was very condemnable that human lives were lost in the incident and I sincerely sympathize with the families of the death persons” he said.
Muforo added “contrary to reports, my house was spared, but my subjects’ houses were badly affected and I am not happy about it.”
Explaining what he believed was the cause of the crisis, the royal father said “This community has been a peaceful community; we don’t merit the punishment meted on us. All the victims never took part in bunkering business.”
Another source from the community who briefed our correspondent recalled that some youths were illegally collecting tolls from some oil bunkerers passing the community when the squabble began.
However, the traditional ruler, who expressed concern over the increasing activities of oil bunkering in the area, has urged government to find urgent way of stopping it as well as find ways of meaningful engaging the teaming youths to deter them from the nefarious activities.
A victim, Mr Ifeanyichukwu Onyeukwu, who described the incident as a “tragedy” and a “big loss”, said the community has never experienced such attack before.
“It was like a war situation. They came here with about 30 Hilux vans and three war tanks. I hid myself in the bush watching from a distance how they throw dynamites into our building.
“We lost everything including clothes, phones, electrical appliances and money.
“Particularly, my cousin lost over N500,000 cash while his wife also lost some amount belonging to a Church group she belonged,” he claimed.
Onyeuwku further added: “I am not part of the bunkering business going on in the area, but I am surprised that the problem caused by few individuals affected me and virtually everyone in the village.”