WHO THE ‘UNKNOWN GUNMEN’ RAVAGING SOUTH EAST?

BY DONS EZE

The South East zone is in trouble. The zone is under siege, surrounded by unknown enemies. Everyday, we hear stories about burning down of some government offices, in particular, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices, and police stations, and the killing of some police officers. We are worried, troubled. We see that policemen have been chased out from our roads. So, every of our place is now porous, and therefore in danger.

In each of the five states in the South East – Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo, the story is the same, arson, and killings. The South East is besieged by some strange faces. Everybody is afraid. Nobody moves out freely, or talks carelessly, else he will be forced to do some explanations.

So far, nobody has been able to pinpoint, or to say, those responsible for these attacks. Everybody is in quandary, totally confused. What is actually happening? When have we descended to that level of bestiality, animal life?

At first, some people had hastily pointed accusing fingers at the Eastern Security Network (ESN), sponsored by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, and Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, for instance, as well as the former Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu. They were in the forefront of accusing IPOB/ESN of being responsible. But it appears that some of them are beginning to retrace their steps.

That notwithstanding, the IPOB/ESN had consistently washed their hands off the allegation, and denied that they were ever involved in these attacks. They maintained that their mission was not to attack or kill the very people they were determined to protect. But not many people believed them.

Now, Governor Hope Uzodinma is making a recant. He told us that no fewer than 400 people who caused mayhem or attacks in Imo State had been arrested and charged to court, and that over 70 percent of them were not Igbo, invariably, therefore, not members of IPOB/ESN.

According to Governor Uzodinma’s Chief Press Secretary, Oguwike Nwachuku, in a statement, in Owerri: ”Over 400 of those who carried out the threats on the state in the past have been arrested. The good thing is that over 70 per cent of them are not Igbo”.

The governor however vowed that his government would crush anybody who attempted to cause mayhem or attack Imo State again. ”Government cannot surrender to blackmailers, hoodlums, and perpetrators of violence,” he said. But that is not now our problem.

Our concern is, who are these “over 70 percent non-Igbo out of the 400” people Governor Hope Uzodinma told us have been arrested and being prosecuted for causing mayhem in Imo State, that is, those who attacked the Imo Police Headquarters, and the Owerri Correctional Centre, and freed its prison inmates?

Where did these people come from? How did they get to Imo State? Who sponsored them? What was their mission or aim? Proper investigations would reveal all these, and many more. We should not gloss over them.

Thus, by inference, if the over 70 percent of the attackers who were arrested in Imo State for causing trouble in the state, were not Igbo, but foreigners, we will safely apply the same percentage to all the other attacks that have been going on in the four other states of the South East.

What this then means therefore, is that the so-called “Unknown Gunmen”, who carry out criminal activities in different parts of the South East, who burn down INEC offices and razing police stations, are none other than foreign infiltrators. Because there is hunger in the land, they recruit the remaining 30 percent as guides, to lead them in and out of their target areas. This is further confirmed by the fact that virtually all these attacks happen in the night, which is typical of the activities of the Fulani herders.

It is not in the character of the average Igbo people to be riotious, to be throwing stones in protest, or to kill people and destroy valuable property, private or public. Igbo people value human life. They see it as sacred. They also love and cherish property. Therefore, it will be extremely strange to see them heartlessly kill human beings or set valuable property on fire.

The aim of these infiltrators, no doubt, is to destabilize the South East, to drag the area to war, to further subjugate the South East. President Muhammadu Buhari had told us that he and his security team had already designed a special security action plan to deal with the people of South East and South South regions. We are waiting.

Since Governor Uzodinma had told us that the so-called “Unknown Gunmen” were mainly foreign infiltrators, we should not hesitate to unmask them, to expose them. They should no longer remain unknown, because their aim is to drag us to war. But then, where is Ebubeagu? Time for action is NOW.

Dr. Dons Eze, KSJI

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