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How Police, Soldiers Burnt Abala Community Witness - Crime - Nairaland

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How Police, Soldiers Burnt Abala Community Witness by jona2: 8:12pm On May 21, 2009
the bakassi boys are coming,the east is not even safe.

[b]How police, soldiers burnt Abala community witness (1)

It was more like a commando operation, a repeat of the Odi massacre when soldiers stormed and set the place on fire. But this time around, it happened in Abala autonomous community, Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State. However, police and the community are trading words over who takes responsibility for this crime against humanity. Whereas the community is blaming the police and soldiers, the police, on the other hand, insist they had nothing to do with carnage. In this interview with Correspondent, Ben Duru, an eyewitness who doesn't want his picture printed, Nnenna Udo, traced the root of the crisis to the time the police and soldiers stormed the community. Excerpts:

Could you tell us what happened in your community recently?

Last Wednesday about 4 O'clock in the evening, we were in the village, Abala autonomous community, Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State, I travelled home. Actually, I travelled home on Tuesday evening and in the morning I saw the villagers running to every direction in confusion. I asked them what was happening, but no one stopped to answer me, they kept running in different direction. I now discovered that policemen and soldiers were gathered everywhere, burning houses. So, everyone in the village fled to different directions.

What actually did you see?

I saw the policemen and soldiers setting houses on fire. Before that day the policemen and soldiers were trailing a gang of armed robbers, passing through the area to a nearby community. If you know Abala community very well, it is like a roundabout with one road leading to Akwa Ibom State and the other leading to Ukwa Local Government, that is, Azumiri, Akirika and the one leading to Abala. So, they were trailing these armed robbers. Before the police came we saw many vehicles passing through the village and within a short time we also saw police vehicle following the vehicles used by the armed robbery suspects. About four in the evening we started hearing gunshots everywhere and people started running in confusion. People thought there was an invasion of the village nearby, because it was so serious that even where we were staying people were already fleeing. The following day police and soldiers came and started burning houses.
About how many houses were burnt on that day?

The houses the police and soldiers burnt were more than 50, especially in my own area. In my compound, we had three buildings burnt; my father owns two and my uncle one. These buildings, including the kitchen the police and soldiers burnt all. The thing is too much to understand. You see people who stored oil in drums in their houses; everything went up in flames. The house of an Assistant Commissioner of Police from the area was also burnt; another storey building belonging to a popular businessman based in Aba was completely razed to the ground. This man deals in building materials and had some of his materials in the house; everything was totally burnt. Houses that belong to important men in the village were also completely burnt, and the worse thing was that most of these people were not around when this thing happened. Nobody knew what the police and soldiers were going to do, we suddenly saw them and immediately they entered the village they started to setting the buildings ablaze. Properties worth billions of naira were lost because majority of the people, especially the important people in our community were not around when the burning started.
Did anybody in the village get to know why the police and soldiers embarked on this action?

We don't know, and the police and soldiers did not tell us anything. In fact, immediately they entered the village they started shooting in different directions to scare everybody away. As the people were running for dear life, the police and soldiers began to set the buildings on fire, nobody had the courage to stop and ask why they were doing what they were doing, because we believed that with the way they entered the village anybody who tried to question them would be killed instantly. They destroyed everything, from household property to cash crops, goats, fowls everything around especially those belonging to those who rear their goats and chickens inside their compounds. But all we know is that the police were trailing criminals the previous day, but both the criminals and the police did not stop in our village. If you want to see the police, I can lead you there, so you can understand what I am talking about. Where the police and the armed robbery suspects engaged in shooting is very far from our village. We knew there was a shoot-out because we saw the vehicles of the armed robbery suspects when they were passing, but we did not then except when we immediately saw the police vehicles also trailing them, with up to five patrol vans and it was after sometime that we started hearing gunshots and the whole village began to flee in confusion. The following day we heard that police vehicles were burnt and the criminals made away with some money.

To be continued tomorrow http://nigeriaworld.com/cgi-bin/axs/ax.pl?http://odili.net/news/source/2009/feb/23/702.html


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