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Troops ‘raid Abia communities, arrest residents’ over killing of soldiers


Troops of the Nigeria Army have raided a handful of communities in Abia following the killing of five soldiers in Aba, the state capital, TheCable reports.




The soldiers were killed on May 30 by gunmen who were reportedly enforcing the sit-at-home directive of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).





The gunmen opened fire on a military checkpoint in Obikabia junction in the Aba LGA, killing the soldiers.




On Friday, the army said it would avenge the killing of the soldiers.



A resident of Isiala-Ngwa North LGA, who pleaded anonymity, told TheCable that military personnel extended their search for the killers to other neighbouring areas around Aba.




The witness said soldiers “have taken over” his community while shooting “sporadically in the air”.



He added that the soldiers arrested people, and several residents fled the community.



“Ever since soldiers were killed in Aba, Abia state has been in tension. In Isiala-Ngwa, where I reside, soldiers have taken over the place, arresting and shooting sporadically in the air,” the resident told TheCable.



“They said two of the soldiers there killed during the sit-at-home enforcement are indigenes of Isiala-Ngwa north. As I speak, my community is deserted. People have run to neighbouring villages to seek refuge. The government should act fast to save the situation. The heavy presence of the military is very intimidating. It has grounded commercial activities here.



“Aba is the commercial hub of the south-east. Something fast needs to be done to douse this tension and forestall further killings and destruction of properties.”



Another resident in Osisioma community in Abia, who also pleaded anonymity, told TheCable that soldiers had been patrolling the area and arresting youths in the area.




The witness also said the presence and activities of the military have halted commercial activities in the community.




“Many youths of Osisioma have been arrested since Thursday, and as I speak, the community is deserted. There is a heavy presence of military men, and this has halted commercial activities because everyone is afraid to come out, let alone go to the market. This is terrible,” the resident told TheCable.



Efforts to reach Oyema Nwachukwu, the army spokesperson, were unsuccessful as he did not respond to calls or messages.