Operation Python Dance: Abia Community Makes Demand
Nine months after the infamous Operation Python Dance by the Nigerian Army in Abia State, the community of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Afara Ukwu Umuahia, is reinstating a call for an independent panel of inquiry.
Operation Python Dance (Egwu Eke 2) was carried out in the South East Nigeria by the Nigerian Army, between September and October 2017 with most of the worst hit zones in the region being the clan of the IPOB leader.
The clan comprising three communities of Okwulaga, Enyiukwu and Isiama in Afaraukwu in Umuahia North Local Government of Abia State, made the call in Umuahia through a letter signed by their leaders.
The open letter was signed by HRH (Eze) Edward Ibeabuchi of Okwulaga, HRH (Eze) P.K Ukaegbu of Enyiukwu, Chigozie Nwakanma who is the secretary general of Afaraukwu development association, and the three president-general of the area.
The people narrated their horrible experience of watching what they termed as a brutal one-month exercise starting from how heavily armed military personnel invaded Isiama Afaraukwu community with Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) on September 10, 2017.
The letter reads: “On September 9, 2017, we read in some national dailies that the Nigerian army will be carrying out military exercise code named ‘Operation Python Dance 11’ within the South East geopolitical zone of Nigeria with effect from September 15 to October 14, 2017.
“To our greatest surprise and embarrassment, on Sunday, September 10, 2017, some heavily armed military personnel invaded Isiama Afaraukwu in their Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) and started shooting indiscriminately near the palace of one of our traditional rulers, HRM (Eze) Isaac Kanu who is also the father of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB and in the process shot some visitors in his palace. The said shooting was condemned by very well-meaning Nigerian, even though the Nigerian army denied the shooting.
“On September 14, 2017, a combined team of military personnel fully loaded on trucks, Hilux vans and APC came back to the community and started shooting in the palace of the said HRM (Eze) I.O Kanu and other parts of Isiama Afaraukwu community and in the process killed some visitors and a lady, Miss Adaku Odoemelam who is a native of the community.
“They also damaged some properties in the community and its environs as people abandoned their home and ran away for safety.”
“Since the said September 14, 2017, the whereabouts of one of our traditional rulers, HRM Eze Isaac Kanu, members of his family including some members of Isiama Afaraukwu community is still unknown.
“Again, since that day, our clan has continued to suffer intimidations, harassments and dehumanization from the hands of military personnel stationed within the area. They have totally paralyzed both social and economic activities within Afaraukwu clan.
“On Sunday, October 8, 2017, the military and police invaded Isiama Afaraukwu community and again, moved into the palace of Eze Kanu and carted away some household properties in the absence of the occupants of the palace.”
The clan went further to state that they as a people are not IPOB members and should not have been punished or misjudged.
“May we point out that we are not members of IPOB or any terrorist organization and we do not have any right to prevent people from moving freely within Afaraukwu community based on the provisions of the 1999 constitution which gives every citizen of Nigeria the right to move freely within Nigeria and therefore we should not be punished for allowing visitors into our community.”
They called on President Muhammadu Buhari to end the military siege on their community and set up a panel of inquiry to look into the allegations.
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