By Ed Malik, A | December 12, 2022

Prominent civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Monday, said the invasion by the military of South-East communities with its high unarmed casualty figures is not a sign of effectiveness and therefore, call on the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya to adopt fresh strategies to combat crimes in the South-East and other geopolitical zones of the country.

Besides, HURIWA condemns the sporadic attacks by terrorists targeting strategic national security assets like the offices of the independent National Electoral Commission in the South-East zone just as the Rights group said the killing of members of the Security forces by hoodlums are intolerable crimes against humanity even as the Rights group challenged operatives working within the intelligence community to arrest the actual perpetrators of these unmitigated violence.

Importantly, HURIWA through its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, suggested that Indigenous Commanders Deployed in Igbo Communities because of their knowledge of the terrains and people , which no doubt, will enable them get back channels interactive access to the axis of the resistance groups.

The group said the change of strategies by the military is important as non-indigenous commanders to the South-East are totally strange to the zone and have been described as highhanded in their approach. The group demanded at least let 75 per cent of those who hold command positions in the South-East should be indigenous Igbos to manage the situation properly.

The group also condemned the fresh invasion by the military of the Obeagu Community in the Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State on Monday. According to reports, the troops shot sporadically and allegedly burnt some houses.

This is not the first of such invasions of local South-East communities by troops. In November, troops from Headquarters 82 Division invaded Amangu community in Abia State, causing havoc in the area. In September, troops also invaded the Orsu Local Government Area of Imo and Orsumugho, border community in the Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra, killing three residents. In 2021, soldiers invaded the Izombe community of Oguta LGA of Imo, with its attendant escalated crisis.

In all the invasions, the military has consistently claimed it is on the trail of members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN).

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “Military’s invasion of South-East communities is not working especially because it is believed that commanders sent to the zone have the preconceived idea that they are in the South-East for purely kinetic actions and when communities are attacked by all sorts of terrorists, the military is found wanting.

“According to the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, security agencies have killed 1,400 residents and razed 1,000 homes in 100 Igbo communities in the 14 months.

“The COAS, Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya should change strategies, post indigenous commanders to South-East or at least let 75 % of those who hold command positions in the South-East not be persons totally strange to those environments and when GOC fails like it is now, those who are non-performing should be swiftly replaced or else the wrong impression that the Army is against Igbos may grow and become acceptable.”

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