Three weeks after the clash between security operatives and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), at Emene, Enugu State, a leading human rights group has released the names of those allegedly killed during the clash.
The incident took place on August 23, 2020.
In a special Report released on Sunday, September 13, 2020, the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) for the first time made public the names of some of those injured during the clampdown as well as those arrested and detained during the operation.
The Report titled “Emene Shootings & Killings Of Sunday, 23rd August 2020 Perpetrated By Personnel Of Nigerian Army (82 Div), Enugu State Police Command & Enugu State Directorate Of State Security Service”, was signed by Intersociety’s principal officers; Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair; Comrade Samuel Kamanyaoku, Head, Field Data Collection & Documentation; Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Programme; Amaka Damaris Onuoha, Head, Campaign & Publicity; and Chinwe Umeche, Head, Democracy & Good Governance.
According to the Special Report, “over 30 defenceless civilians died in the massacre”, “40 wounded & 60 arrested & detained”. The report blamed the massacre on “crude & hate policing”. It berated Enugu Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, saying that he “Acted Cowardly”.
Intersociety indicted and called for the dismissal of CP Abdurrahman, AIG Danmallam Mohammed and Enugu DSS Director Obande Olotu. It also condemned the death of two DSS operatives while declaring that the “Army, Police & SSS must tender unreserved public apologies”.
Below are some highlights of the Special Report:
Shooting & Massacre At Emene High School: By several eyewitnesses’ accounts, the Community High School, Emene, had on Saturday, 22nd August 2020 played host to hundreds of “Shabbat (Sabbath Day) Worshippers” or Jewish religionists and their Christian counterparts who are mainly pro Biafra activists of Jewish and Christian religious faiths. The worship activities continued into the night of same day with a night vigil.
The night vigil had involved the Christian section and the Shabbat section, to be rounded off with a joint sermon and a meeting the following day being Sunday, 23rd August 2020.
The School also hosted members of Pentecostal Churches who had converged for their Sunday church services on that fateful day.
In the early morning of Sunday, 23rd August 2020 between the dismissal hours of the Catholic’s 5.30a.m mass and beginning of its 7a.m mass of the nearby St Joseph Catholic Church Parish, armed operatives of the State Security Service stormed the venue in about four Hilux vans loaded with its armed personnel.
By the time the armed SSS stormed the venue, early morning joggers, martial arts activists, footballers, food vendors and sachet water and soft/energy drinks sellers, etc had already converged in the School’s Field/Premises for their various lawful assemblies and activities highlighted above.
The total number of law abiding citizens including pro Biafra worshippers and sports activists converged and engaging in different social activities within the School’s Premises was in multiple hundreds.
They excluded passers-by, congregants of the nearby St Joseph Catholic Church Parish and residing members of its Clergy and teaching staff of St Paul International Institute as well as other residents of the area. Violent and in murderous mood, the SSS operatives cordoned off all the School’s entries and exits.
They barely shouted “everybody lie face down unmoved” when they opened fire with live bullets shooting in different directions with intent to massacre; forcing the gathered and converging religious worshippers and sports activists, etc, to run amok or helter skelter for their lives. Before being withstood by some pro Biafra activists bearing anti bullet charms, scores had already been gunned down (i.e. shot at close range and battered with live bullets).
Angered by the murderous shootings and gunning down of scores of innocent and defenceless citizens; the survivors and nearby residents took to the street and formed clusters after SSS operatives’ live bullets have rained everywhere.
The shootings by SSS operatives only got to a halt when some pro Biafra activists bearing anti bullet charms physically confronted and withstood them; forcing them to retreat and escape; and it was at that point that luck ran out of two of its personnel (Odili and another) who were caught and clubbed to death by angry mobs.
It was also at the point of their retreat that the complicit Director of SSS, Enugu Directorate, Mr. Obande Olotu, an Idoma-Benue born, was signaled by his retreating operatives and he put a call across to complicit Commissioner of Police, Enugu State Command, Alhaji Ahmad Abdurrahman, a Fulani Muslim from Bauchi State, who unilaterally, magisterially and illegally deployed the Joint Security Taskforce, comprising soldiers, SSS and Air Force personnel as well as Police SARS, Police Anti Cult and Police Anti Terrorism squads, etc and ordered them to shoot at close range and kill any defenceless citizen sighted in the area.
The complicit Commissioner of Police (Alhaji Ahmad Abdurrahman) of Enugu State Command of the Nigeria Police Force was not alone in his clear act of butchery, hate and crude policing as he also put a call across to AIG Danmallam Mohammed, another Fulani-Hausa Muslim from Katsina State, who is AIG in charge of the newly established Police Zone 13 in Anambra State.
The AIG conspiratorially partook in the invasion and massacre of unarmed and defenceless Judeo-Christian citizens of Igbo extraction by swiftly ordering for deployment of Police SARS, Police Anti Cult and Police Anti Terrorism squads, etc from Anambra State.
The deployed Anambra Police squads not only participated in the massacre but were also involved in the post massacre mass arrests and house-to-house raids and terrorization of the defenceless residents and passersby in the area.
A member of Police Anti Cult in Anambra State confirmed their participation in the ‘operation’ (massacre).
In the end, dozens were killed and dozens fatally shot and injured. Dozens were also arrested on the spot by SSS, Nigerian Army and Police and detained and still being held without trial amidst custodial torture and other inhuman treatments or punishments. Among the slain and wounded victims were pro Biafra activists, church congregants, sports activists and passers-by.
Scores, including the badly shot and injured have gone missing and may most likely never be found alive.
Casualty Figures: By combined independent reports and eyewitnesses’ accounts, no fewer than 30 defenceless citizens of Judeo-Christian citizens of Igbo extraction were massacred by the trio of the Enugu State Directorate of SSS, the soldiers of the 82 Div of the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force, Enugu State Command.
While the 82 Div has Major Gen Lasisi Adegboye as its General Officer Commanding, the Enugu State Police Command is under (complicit) CP, Alhaji Ahmad Abdurrahman. The Enugu State Directorate of SSS was during the massacre headed by Mr. Obande Olotu, an Idoma-Benue born native. He was swiftly transferred barely a day or two after the massacre and replaced with an Imo State born Director.
Casualty figures and number of the wounded would have been higher but for a short interval between when SSS operatives retreated and when the Joint Security Taskforce including soldiers, Air Force, SSS and various Police murderous squads arrived. They had stormed the arena fully armed and in over 16 Hilux Vans.
During the short interval, church services were violently disrupted and abruptly dismissed and some entrapped citizens managed to escape. Some attending morning church services were unlucky as they were trapped and cut in the crossfire. One of them is Citizen Abraham Ani, caught on his way to church service at St Joseph Catholic Church Parish, Emene.
Over 30 Defenceless Civilians Died In The Massacre: Scores of defenceless citizens, numbering not less than 30 were shot and killed during the massacre; with many dying on the spot and some dying while escaping or in their hiding following loss of so much blood and lack of immediate and adequate medical attention.
Also some, especially those bearing anti bullet charms apprehended alive particularly by soldiers and Police SARS/Anti Cult/Anti Terror operatives are likely to have been macheted or axed or clubbed to death or ‘wasted’ in custody after being arrested alive and confirmed to be beyond ‘bullet penetration’.
It is also strongly suspected that those badly wounded who were among those arrested and taken away by soldiers or SSS or Police are mostly likely to have been “wasted” in custody.
The mother massacre had taken place when the complicit Commissioner of Police, Enugu State Command, illegally deployed the Joint Security Force or JTF and ordered them to shoot and massacre.
Deployment of JTF, by convention, is exclusively the prerogative of the Executive Governor of Enugu State, who is also its Chairman and funder and deployment of same is strictly restricted to situations of extreme public security threats such as inter-communal bloody conflict.
Therefore, from our generally gathered information and analysis, it is most likely that soldiers of the 82 Div killed and took away not less than 15 corpses, Enugu State Police Command over ten and SSS about seven including its two slain personnel; bringing the total to not less than 30.
Apart from two of the shot victims/witnesses interviewed who confirmed counting not less than 15 dead bodies, a journalist with a mainstream newspaper also told Intersociety that “he counted ten corpses from the Police side when he arrived at the end of the massacre. The ten included two slain SSS operatives, one non native burnt alive for videoing the massacre and seven other slain citizens”.
The journalist further told Intersociety that (complicit) CP, Abdurrahman Ahmad told him, when asked about the whereabouts of the dead and the wounded victims, that “it is left for other security agencies who participated (i.e. SSS, Nigerian Army, etc) to account for number of the dead, the wounded and the arrested in their custody”.
It was also confirmed that the trio of Army, SSS and Police squads who participated in the massacre had separately made away with the slain corpses, the wounded and the arrested.
Included in the over 30 slain defenceless citizens were about four slain bodies retrieved by their friends and relatives and hurriedly buried while in a certain hospital/mortuary located outside the massacre scene, about five corpses hurriedly retrieved from the scene of the massacre were deposited by their friends and relatives; with likelihood of them having been hurriedly buried. Scores also went missing; with their relatives and friends secretly looking for them till date.
It has become a herculean task locating the identities and relatives of the dead, the shot and injured and survivors and passersby arrested during and after the massacre.
Videos and photos have also gone viral in the media showing soldiers and Police breaking homes, torturing and arresting defenceless citizens in Emene and environs; all in a bid to erase traces of their atrocious acts and levy war against defenceless population of Enugu State.
Traced Dead/Missing Citizens
SUCCESS …(resident of Ugwugo, Enugu Urban)
Ugochukwu…(resident of Abarkpa-Nike)
40 Wounded & 60 Arrested & Detained: The number of defenceless citizens terminally shot and wounded during the massacre is likely not less than 40. While Army, Police and SSS took away many, if not most of them, others were ‘lucky’ not to have been arrested and taken away with possibility of their captors ‘wasting’ them in their custodies or abandoning them to bleed to death.
The Nigerian security forces have particularly since mid 2015 adopted a dangerous pattern of evidence destruction by avoiding profiling and making public the identities and number of those taken into their custodies particularly the dead and the wounded as well as victims of their odd hour raids and invasions.
Also not less than 60 defenceless citizens are most likely to have been arrested and detained amidst custodial torture and other inhuman conditions.
The arrests must have taken place during the massacre and after same and even till date. The arrested included the badly shot and injured citizens and among them is Citizen Offornaedu Okafor, 21-year-old apprentice from Ohandiagu Community in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State. He had escaped from the rain of live bullets with his friend who was also shot and terminally injured.
They had run to the Blessed Sacrament Altar of St Joseph Catholic Parish, Emene and hidden by the corner of the Holy Altar when SSS operatives pursued them, saw them hiding and bundled them to their Hilux Van amidst blood droppings. Citizen Okafor was shot at close range at his back and bullets pierced and came out from the left side of his chest.
The Citizen told Intersociety on phone that “he counted and knew 15 citizens that were shot dead by the trio of Army, Police and SSS”.
At point of death, he was bundled to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, and abandoned, while his friend was transferred to the Enugu State Police Command Headquarters and was among four arrested citizens publicly paraded by complicit Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Ahmad Abdurrahman.
At UNTH, Citizen Offornaedu was dumped by his SSS captors to bleed to death and it was at the intervention of the doctor on duty that he was administered with palliative treatment until the arrival of his father.
He was also handcuffed to his bed by the Police; having been shot at close range from his back on Sunday, 23rd August 2020 and bullets pierced and came out through the left side of his chest.
On 4th Sept, despite the terminal state of his health, he was whisked away and dumped without treatment at the Enugu State’s CID of the State Police Command; contrary to the Anti Torture and Gunshot Victims’ Acts of 2017.
Traced Wounded Citizens
Eze Kingsley Sunday
Traced Arrested Citizens:
Citizens Ugwu Paul,
Joseph Anayo Ojudeh,
Emmanuel Friday Edeh
Enugu Gov Acted Cowardly: Had the Executive Gov of Enugu State boldly risen to his constitutional responsibility as the Chief Security Officer of Enugu State and sole deploying authority of the State’s Joint Security Taskforce, the massacre would have been averted.
Instead, he allowed his duties to be usurped and undermined by (complicit) CP, Alhaji Ahmad Abdurrahman. To make matters worse, he reacted and acted cowardly by refusing to categorically condemn the massacre and its perpetrators as well as violent disruption and dismissal of church services and invasion of religious environment.
The cowardice of the Gov also played out when he tried to divert public attention by mixing up the massacre with one sided police reports of ‘its personnel being attacked at roadblocks at Ogbete and Awgu”; an incident not only independently unsubstantiated but also unconnected with the Emene massacre.
The Gov appeared to have fallen into a booby trap of the complicit Commissioner of Police of Enugu and the authorities of Enugu State Directorate of SSS and the 82 Div of the Nigerian Army who are desperately looking for escape route to exonerate themselves and their service personnel from the atrocious massacre.
This very cowardly act of the Enugu Gov has emboldened the service masterminds of the massacre to intensify the wrecking of havoc on defenceless and innocent residents of Emene and environs through raids, invasions and unlawful arrests and inhuman treatments.
Till date, the Gov has done nothing concerning the welfare including medical conditions of the wounded victims, consolation and compensation of the slain victims’ families or relatives.
The affected community including Catholic Church, its properties and Sunday church services violently disrupted are still ignored by the Government of Enugu State.
The Army, Police and SSS are still holding the dead bodies of the victims and those shot at close range and gravely injured as well as dozens of others arrested.
This is to the extent that as we speak, the murderous masterminds still go about riotously breaking into houses and arresting innocent and defenceless residents with the Enugu Gov and his Administration keeping quiet and doing nothing.
Calling For Dismissal Of CP Abdurrahman, AIG Danmallam Mohammed & Director Obande
From the foregoing, therefore, the trio of CP, Ahmad Abdurrahman, CP, Enugu State, AIG, Danmallam Mohammed and Mr. Obande Olotu, immediate past Director of SSS, Enugu State are unfit to continue to serve as sworn officers of the Nigeria Police Force and the SSS as well as to be continuously serviced with the country’s public funds as public servants. They not only abused their offices and powers in the massacre but also acted unprofessionally, crudely and hatefully. Their continuing stay in their respective positions and offices, if allowed, is very dangerous and a serious threat to the lives and safety of other defenceless citizens of the country particularly members of Judeo-Christian and moderate Muslim faith. The authorities of the Police Service Commission and the State Security Service are hereby strongly called upon to investigate and dismiss the trio and hand them to the appropriate prosecuting agencies to be prosecuted for mass murder and associated felonies.
Calling For Release Of Bodies Of The Dead Victims & The Arrested: International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law is strongly calling on the authorities of the Enugu State Police Command, the Enugu State Directorate of SSS and the 82 Div of the Nigerian Army to immediately disclose publicly and correctly the names, identities and number of the dead citizens they respectively took away during the massacre as well as those they shot at close range and critically injured and the arrested others. If the dead and ‘wasted’ injured ones have been buried; how, why, where and when were they buried? Also, how many of them were buried? It is also our firm demand that all those arrested and presently held by the named security agencies must be released and further crackdowns discontinued.
Condemning The Death Of Two SSS Operatives: We also strongly condemn the death during the massacre of two SSS operatives who were mobbed to death by angered mobs. Intersociety is strongly opposed to all forms of deaths or killings outside the law including killing of security personnel and unarmed citizens.
However, by convention, it is better for ‘ten weaponized and unprofessional security agents to die than to lose an innocent and defenceless citizen’.
Army, Police & SSS Must Tender Unreserved Public Apologies: The authorities of the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police Force and SSS must address a joint press conference, announcing the dismissal and other appropriate sanctions against the GOC of 82 Div, Major Gen Lasisi Adegboye, the CP, Enugu State, Alhaji Abdurrahman Ahmad, the AIG, Zone 13, AIG Alhaji Danmallam Mohammed and the immediate past Director of SSS, Enugu State, Mr. Obande Olotu.
Adequate compensations must be given to the families of the slain and the injured and unreserved apologies publicly tendered to them as well as the entire residents of Emene and the Enugu Diocese of the Catholic Church in particular and Nigerians and citizens of Igbo Nation in general.
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