Police say investigations ongoing as group demands justice over Ebonyi mass killing

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The Ebonyi State Police Command said Thursday that investigations into the killing of at least 15 persons in Monday’s gruesome attack on some communities of Ishielu Local Government Area of the state were ongoing.

The police public relations officer in the state, Odah Obianuju, gave the assurance to PREMIUM TIMES, following a statement by a group, Victims of Persecution, demanding justice for the victims of the killings and their families on Thursday.

The organisation led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, expressed horror over what it described as the “slaughtering of scores of defenceless women, children and people from Nkalaha, Obegu, Amazu Nkalagu, Umuhuali autonomous communities in Ishielu L.G.A, Ebonyi State by A-K 47 bearing foreign marauders/mercenaries and herdsmen.”

A Vanguard newspaper’s report says the attackers launched an assault on the communities Monday night, with Governor David Umahi visiting the affected areas on Tuesday to commiserate with the victims’ families and ascertain the level of destruction.

Victims of Persecution’s statement on Thursday wondered why the government, despite its constitutional mandate to protect lives and property, appeared helpless, inactive and unconcerned about the invasion of various parts of the country by armed men.

It stated, “The constitutional duties of the military is to ward off armed invasion of any part and territory of Nigeria while the police and the para-militaries are to ensure that public law and order are ensured in the Country. How come these foreign mercenaries are having unfettered field days in our country?

“We, of the Victims of Persecution are asking, in the face of these armed invasions and insurrections by these foreign killers/herdsmen and occupiers, why is the government appearing helpless, inactive or unperturbed.”

The group noted that “the constant murdering of villagers and occupation of their father-land without decisive repulsion by the government is beginning to paint a dirty colour of condonation of the activities of these foreign marauders.”

“Indigenes are now becoming the internally displaced persons in their own ancestral lands in Nigeria,” it stated.

While it condoled with the government and people of Ebonyi State, the organisation said, “We demand that the necessary authorities to do the needful.”

The Ebonyi State killings feed into the general state of insecurity in the country where mass killings, kidnapping for ransom, terrorism and other violent crimes have become the other of the day in different places.

Another Vanguard’s report says the attack on Ishielu L.G.A of Ebonyi State came barely 24 hours after eight persons were killed by “rampaging” herdsmen in Adani, Uzo-Uwani L.G.A of Enugu State.

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Police speak

Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, police spokesperson in Ebonyi State, Obianuju, said investigations into the killings were ongoing, but said the ethnic profile of the perpetrators not important.

“Investigation is ongoing,” she said, adding, “It is investigation that would fish out the culprits of the killings. We (the police) don’t like colourating a crime; anyone who commits a crime must be arrested and punished according to the law, no matter where they come from whether they are herdsmen, bandits or criminals.”

He said “the most important thing is that the commissioner of police has vowed to do anything within the ambit of the law” including “collaborating with other security agencies and the relevant stakeholders in the community to ensure that they people who did this are brought to book in no distant time.”

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