• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Group petitions Otti on soldier’s reprisal attack in Aba

Why Otti must seize the momentum in Abia

Abia Civil Society Network (ACSON), an umbrella body of civil rights and pro-democracy groups in Abia State, has drawn the attention of Governor Alex Otti on the ongoing reprisal attack on innocent citizens of Aba by soldiers.

They also called for immediate release of those unjustly detained, including vulnerable women and underage teenagers, after the killing of 5 soldiers in Aba, on May 30, 2024, by yet to be identified assailants.

The group in a letter to Abia State Governor, which was jointly signed, by Amaka Biachi, Cassius Ukwugbe and Okoye Chuka Peter, noted that reports across various media platforms indicated that following the said unfortunate killing of soldiers in Obikabia junction Military checkpoint, in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State, there had been severe retaliatory actions by the Mlitary.

These actions according to them, have led to widespread panic, destruction of property, and unwarranted arrests of innocent civilians, including young men and teenagers.

The group in the letter said, “We acknowledge the complexity and sensitivity surrounding the tragic loss of our military personnel in the said incident, however, collective punishment of the community is neither a just nor an effective response.

“The indiscriminate arrests and other violence related incidents have exacerbated fear and instability within our commercial city, hence undermining the very fabric of community trust and safety that your administration seeks to uphold”.

They therefore called for a halt to any ongoing Military operations that target civilians and ensure that any necessary security measures are conducted with strict adherence to human rights standards.

This is as they also appealed for the release of all citizens, including men, women and defenceless teenagers, who have been arrested since the ugly incident took place without substantial evidence of wrongdoing, noting that their continued detention only serves to fuel animosity and distrust between the community and security forces.

The group called for the setting up of an independent committee in collaboration with relevant security agencies to investigate the circumstances surrounding the raised issue and the subsequent military response, stressing that transparency in this process is crucial to restoring public confidence.

They urged the State Government to facilitate dialogue between community leaders, civil society actors, security agencies, and government officials to foster mutual understanding and cooperation.

The civil society group noted that providing psychological and material support to affected families will also aid in the community’s healing process.