Enugu – Residents of Eke, Udi LGA of Enugu State have accused soldiers of the Nigerian Army of shooting at security guards (vigilante) who were going after Fulani bandits carrying out an operation near Ama Breweries, Ninth Mile, Enugu.
Three soldiers allegedly preventing Neighbourhood Security Guards (Vigilantes) from going after rampaging armed herdsmen shot one of the local vigilantes and also killed a woman riding a motorcycle with the husband in Eke, Udi Local Government Area (LGA) of Enugu State.
The area along the road and the AMMA Breweries axis is endemic with kidnappings by Fulani herdsmen.
Local residents told Global Upfront Newspapers (GUN) that the vigilantes have before effected arrests of some of the herdsmen but that they were always instantly released.
And they are accusing soldiers of the 82 Division of “continued collusion instead of providing security. The soldiers stationed in the area have turned up as enemies of the people.”
In fact, the Neighbourhood Guards have given their own side of the story, specifically laying the blame for the killings and ongoing insecurity in the area on the soldiers whom they accused of taking sides with the herdsmen.
According to a source, the “Eke Neighborhood Security Guards had through the CSO received news of bandits attack at Ugwudinso Axis past Thursday, 29/6/2023 around the hours of 7pm. And in line with the extant operating guide, the Guards mobilized to the incident venue but had prior to the movement alerted the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Ninth MIle of the bandits attack and they were in agreement for the Guards to advance while the Police join shortly.
“When they (Guards) got to the incident venue, they met three soldiers that confronted them and opened fire on them at close range even when they identified themselves and were in traditional vigilante security uniforms with identity cards.
“The Guards, shocked and confounded to the marrow, were accused by the soldiers of being Kidnappers and shot them profoundly at close range. In fact, it took the intervention of the Ninth Mile Policemen to get the soldiers to stop their offensives and assaults against the shot Guards.
“At that point, a Security Guard – Ebuka Oke was already dead while the other three Guards (two direct Guards and I Associate) were rushed to the hospital for resuscitation. One of the Guards was shot on the abdomen and is being restored from a rather critical condition.
“Also dead from the cross fire was an Amokwe Udi woman resident at Enugu Eke. She was brutally shot together with the husband by the soldiers. Both were on bike to Eke during this incident. The wife died on the spot while the husband is still receiving treatment at same hospital with our Guards.
“We are also aware of some of the misrepresentations going on in WhatsApp forums by way of voice messages and accusing our Guards of being involved in the crime but these are mere fabrications and mischievous.
“So far, we thank the Senator Representing Enugu West-Senator Osita Ngwu, Speaker-Enugu State House of Assembly -Rt. Hon Uche Ugwu and the Udi Local Government Chairman-Chief Philip Okoh as well as other Stakeholders for their immediate intervention, sympathy visits and solidarity during this challenging time.”