Victims narrate ordeal after Ebonyi political violence

Ruins of one of the burnt houses in Ebonyi
Ruins of one of the burnt houses in Ebonyi

More victims of a recent attack in some communities in Ebonyi State have narrated their ordeal.

At least 30 houses were reportedly razed after suspected political thugs on Friday night attacked several communities in Izzi Local Government Area of the State, residents and victims have said.

The police, however, confirmed it only found one person injured with about six houses razed and several motorcycles burnt when it visited some of the communities on Monday.

Monday’s visit was led by the state Commissioner of Police, Awosola Awotunde.

He condemned the attack and appealed for calm, saying culprits and their “sponsors” will be arrested.

Victims

One of the victims, Donatus Nwofe, said he lost two buildings.

Mr Nwofe, the Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), Ebonyi council, said the suspected thugs invaded his compound and shot sporadically before setting the houses ablaze.

“I lost everything, even the boxers I am wearing was donated to me by a sympathiser. As you can see, no pin was removed from the burnt down houses”, he told journalists at Aguabata in Agbaja community.

Another victim, Paulinus Onyike, said the thugs working for “a major political party” invaded Izenyi, in Agbaja community and set houses suspected to belong to members of the opposition ablaze.

Though perpetrators are yet to be known, a recent clash between the Peoples Democratic party and the All Progressives Congress in the area is believed to have triggered the attack.

One of the affected communities is home to the speaker of Ebonyi State house of Assembly, Ogbonnaya Nwifuru.

Loveth Odah, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) said the burnt houses were bearing political party posters of both PDP and APC.

The spokesperson said an APC chairman was injured in the hand during the clash that occurred in the eve of the now postponed elections.

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“About six buildings were found completely burnt, with several motorcycles destroyed,” Mrs Odah told PREMIUM TIMES Monday night.

She said the commissioner during his visit promised the community security reinforcement with about four patrol vehicles.

The official said the police appealed to residents to give information that would lead to arrests of the culprits.

“They should come up with information that will read to arrests. The culprits are not far from the communities.”

The police official said a ‘serious manhunt’ has been mounted. She said the culprits will soon be caught.

Blame game

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the APC and PDP have been trading blames over the incident.

On Monday, both parties accused each other of masterminding the attacks.

The APC chairman, Eze Nwachukwu said members of the party were mostly targeted.

The party official further listed alleged attacks on members of the party.

He specifically listed alleged attacks on the home of APC zonal publicity secretary, Chris Ogba at Ezzama, Ezza South on February 16 and an attack on members of the party at Ekoli-Edda among others.

“All these incidents have been duly reported to the police in the state, and we call on the police to ensure that perpetrators are arrested and brought to justice.”

However, the state chairman of the PDP, Onyekachi Nwebonyi refuted the allegations, throwing the accusation back to the APC.

“It is not true. They (APC) are the ones attacking our members. I had briefed you on the killing of two persons on Sunday, who were attacked by political thugs, while six others were injured.

“PDP has been very peaceful despite the provocations. The governor, who is a man of peace, has continued to calm the party faithful, urging them not to retaliate.”

He did not, however, provide the details of the victims but decried the attacks and called for action.

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