1600 unarmed Imo citizens killed, 300 disappeared in 29 months -Report

*Group calls for international criminal inquiries into the killings

No fewer than 1600 unarmed citizens of Imo State have been killed while 300 others disappeared without trace between January 2021 and May 2023(29 months).

Also, 700 persons sustained life-threatening injuries with over 900 others abducted within the same period under review.

These were contained in a 33-paged Special Research and Investigative Report presented to newsmen on Sunday by a civil rights group, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), in Enugu.

Board chairman of the group, Emeka Umeagbalasi, who presented the report, disclosed that the state and non-state actors were responsible for the killings.

According to him, state actors accounted for the death of 900 out of the 1600 unarmed persons killed in the state while the other 700 were killed by armed non-state actors within the period under review.

The report noted that 600 out of the 900 were secretly killed by state actors while 300 died in open shootings.

He disclosed that 400 out of the 700 killed by armed non-state actors died in captivity while 300 others were killed in open shootings.

Umeagbalasi added that that within the same period 3500 young people were arrested by state actors with about 1400 of them paying through their noses to secure their freedom while over 1500 of the arrested persons were still being detained in various detention facilities within and outside the state.

He further disclosed that about 1,200 houses were burnt with their 30,000 owners displaced while 500,000 citizens of the state in active age-brackets were forced to flee to escape being shot and killed or abducted and disappeared.

He listed the affected local government areas to include Orsu, Orlu, Oru East, Oru West, Mbaitoli, Ngor Okpala, Oguta, Ohaji/Egbema, Okigwe, Ideato North, Ideato South, Njaba, Isu, Nwangele, Nkwerre, Owerri Municipal, Owerri North, Owerri West, Ahiazu Mbaise, Ezinihitte Mbaise and Onuimo.

As a result of the killings, Umeagbalasi noted that families in the affected areas no longer funeral ceremonies in the state but prefer to host them outside for fear of the killings.

The group therefore called on the Chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to initiate international criminal inquiries into the killings in the state.

The group said the criminal inquiries were necessary to unmask the identities of the the perpetrators of the acts.

“To be forensically unmasked too are: when, where, how the killings, abductions, arbitrary arrests, detentions, torture and disappearances took place and why. 

“These are in addition to: identification of: the type, location and number of houses and other properties burned down or destroyed and those

 responsible for burning or destroying them and why they were burned or destroyed (domicide) and identification of the available legal frameworks and rules of engagement disapproving and sanctioning such heinous acts or conducts.

“Apart from criminal inquiries, indictments and prosecutions being demanded, the leading perpetrators shall be placed on visa bans and barred from all forms of international career, professional and private engagements especially in USA, Canada, Australia, UK, EU, France, Germany, and South-East Asia and so on; for their involvement in grisly and egregious rights abuses and violations in Imo State in particular and the Southeast in general”.


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