Youths of Amaise, Umuokereke Ngwa, Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State marched on the streets yesterday to protest the murder of their kinsman, Chimaobi Uzoukwa, who was reportedly killed by a soldier.
It was learnt that the soldier trailed the deceased to his father’s compound in Amaise, Umuokereke Ngwa. After attacking Chimaobi, he hopped on a waiting motorcycle driven by another soldier and left convinced Chimaobi would not live.
Reports said the soldier, whose identity was still unknown as at last night, allegedly killed Chimaobi for refusing to pay a N100 daily toll to him.
It was learnt that this angered the youths who stormed the Army outpost at Ohanze in Obingwa council and set it ablaze after soldiers manning the post ran away on receiving information that the mob was heading their way.
The youths, after setting the army outpost ablaze, took Chimaobi’s body to Opobo road and set ablaze a stationary police van inscribed with Mopol 55.
The protest caused pandemonium in the area, forcing businesses to close abruptly, while drivers and commuters abandoned their cars and fled to safety.
Some residents of Ogbor Hill said they trekked home as tricycle operators and commercial buses plying the route refused to leave their loading bay.
When our reporter visited the scene, there were bornfires at various points on Ikot Ekpene Road; the police van was also on fire.
At 6.15pm, a contingent of mobile policemen reinforcement were at strategic areas of the Opobo Junction, apparently to wade off protesters from converging.
Ebere Uzoukwa, a relative of the deceased and former Chief Press Secretary to former Governor Rochas Okorocha, confirmed Chimaobi’s death.
He said: “That boy is married and operates as a commercial motorcyclist. He is very jovial and social. Eze, as fondly, called is calm and respectful. It is very painful after complaining about the unwholesome and criminal extortion of these soldiers mounting roadblocks at Afo Di Mkpa Ohanze and Ukpakiri, the people concerned were undecided and unperturbed to act towards protecting the lives of their own people. It is very sad.
“The deceased was trailed by the soldier for refusing to pay N100 and shot him in his father’s compound. What is his crime? Did he kill or go into robbery. He is from the same Agalaba part of Obingwa where the governor comes from and the same Agalaba where the Majority Leader of the House of Assembly, Solomon Akpulonu, comes from. We will surely get to the root of this wickedness.”
The Abia State Army Public Relations Officer, Maj. Kadiri, couldn’t be reached for comments. However, a source in the Brigade, who pleaded for anonymity, said the soldier is not attached to the Abia Command.
According to him, the said soldier could be from a neighbouring community or a gunman in military camouflage to commit the crime. He promised that the 14 Brigade was already on the matter and would make its findings public soon.