Operatives of the Nigerian Police have invaded the Nkoromo Community market in Ezza North Local government area of Ebonyi State, arresting scores.
It was gathered that a detachment of the Nigerian Police invaded the community market earlier on Friday and conducted indiscrimate arrests amidst sporadic shootings.
Locals said the arrests and harassment of the Nkomoro marketers and some community leaders came hours after Unknown Gunmen attacked policemen on duty along Agba/Ogboji road.
According an eyewitness, “they came in two sienna cars and five Hilux Vans. Immediately they entered Onuafor market, they started shooting sporadically and arresting any man on sight.
“Marketers scampered for safety. There was total pandemonium in the market. People were running helter Skelter. Many people were wounded. Wares worth millions of naira were also destroyed while over 10 persons were arrested, tortured and whisked to Abakaliki.
“Those arrested include Mr Chika Nwali who is the Ebubeagu Commander in Nkomoro, one Mr Isaac Ogbonna, a patent medicine dealer a native of Isu community but resident in Nkomoro among others”.
The Human Rights Defenders Foundation (HURIDE) described the raid as heartrending.
HURIDE in a statement by Sampson Oko Nweke, its Ebonyi State chairman also condemned the unwarranted attack on the police operatives by the Unknown Gunmen.
“It is utterly barbaric and highly condemnable. In the same vein, the group also condemns consequent activities of the policemen at the Onuafor Nkomoro market square where innocent natives with known business addresses were summarily rounded up and bundled to Abakaliki where they may be tagged Unknown Gunmen and possibly treated as such.
“For clarity purpose, the unfortunate attack on the police operatives happened at the boundary between Ogboji Ezza North and Agba Ishielu communities. Why then was the indiscrimate police arrest be carried out in Onuafor Nkomoro market which is quite distant from the scene of the police attack?
“However, as a way to make a case for the arrested Nkomoro marketers, HURIDE had earlier made futile efforts to reach the Ebonyi state police commissioner, CP Aliyu Garba on phone. The group also phoned the state PPRO, Mr Chris Anyanwu, he did not also pick up and never called back.
“Therefore, HURIDE is using this medium to call the attention of the commissioner of Police, CP Aliyu Garba. The group urges the commissioner to order a proper investigation of the activities of his men in Onuafor Nkomoro market today to ensure the arrested marketers and community leaders are released immediately and without further torture.
“HURIDE is also calling on the National Human Rights Commission (#NHRC), the Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Centre (#HRCRC), the Boy Gender Initiative, other Civil Society Organisation and indeed, all well-meaning groups and individuals to lend their voices against the indiscrimate arrest and torture of the Nkomoro marketers and some community leaders.
“Innocent people should not be made to suffer unjustly for the sins of hit-and-disappear hoodlums whose main dwellings are in the bushes” .