Aba Killings: Ohanaeze Youths Decry Arrest of Innocent Youths by Soldiers


Aba Killings: Ohanaeze Youths Decry Arrest of Innocent Youths by Soldiers


By Charles Iwuoha


The Ohanaeze Youths Council (OYC) has raised concerns about the arrest and harassment of innocent youths in Aba and Obingwa by military personnel following the recent killing of five soldiers by gunmen on May 30, during Biafra Heroes Day.


OYC President Igboayaka O. Igboayaka condemned the killing of the soldiers, describing it as barbaric. However, he also criticized the arbitrary arrest of innocent individuals.


In a statement on Saturday, Igboayaka appealed to Abia State Governor Alex Otti, demanding the release of those arrested on Friday, May 31, 2024, in Aba and Obingwa LGA.


Residents of Aba are currently living in fear due to the Nigerian Army’s vow to avenge the deaths of its men. On Friday, Governor Alex Otti announced a N25 million reward for information leading to the capture of the perpetrators and encouraged Abia residents to continue their daily activities without fear. He also urged military personnel to show restraint at checkpoints and during patrols.


Despite the Governor’s assurances, reports indicate that some youths in Aba were arrested by the Army on Friday. Travellers were allegedly forced to disembark from vehicles, raise their arms, and walk for several meters at Umuikaa junction and other checkpoints around Aba. This heavy security presence has caused some motorists to take detours through village routes.


In an effort to avoid arrest or intimidation, many youths living or working near Obikabia junction, where the soldiers were killed, have stayed indoors or fled the area. A resident of Ogbo Hill, who wished to remain anonymous, reported that many shops around Obikabia junction remained closed out of fear of potential reprisals by the Army. Markets in Aba also saw a decrease in the number of traders, particularly those from outside the state.


The resident emphasized the seriousness of the Army’s vow to avenge the killings, stating, “No innocent person wants to become a victim of this promised retaliation.”


Former Abia Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, who hails from Obingwa LGA, condemned the killing of the soldiers and called on military personnel to exercise professionalism in their search for the perpetrators.


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