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Imo Community Demands Justice After Soldiers Allegedly Torture Youth to Death

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UMULOGHO, Nigeria — A wave of shock and anger swept through the Umulogho community in Obowo Local Government Area in Imo State, this weekend, following the death of a local youth, Ebuka Nwaneri, under controversial circumstances.

The incident has sparked widespread outrage, culminating in a violent protest on Monday, April 8, 2024, where enraged youths set fire to a section of a local hotel connected to the tragedy.

The unrest was ignited by allegations that Nwaneri had stolen a mobile phone belonging to a military personnel.

Subsequent to the phone’s disappearance, Ibe Obasi, the son of the hotel’s proprietor, alongside the device’s owner, confronted Nwaneri.

Reports from community sources suggest that the confrontation escalated, leading to Nwaneri being harshly interrogated and confined within a generator house on the hotel premises, in a bid to coerce a confession.

The situation took a grim turn as Nwaneri was found dead the following morning, with injuries that pointed to severe mistreatment.

His body was discovered over the hotel’s fence in the adjacent bush, fueling speculation and accusations of torture leading to his untimely demise.

The response from the community was swift and fiery, with a group of youths targeting the hotel, partially setting it ablaze in protest of what they perceive as a gross injustice.

They have also issued warnings of further reprisals against the hotelier’s family unless accountability is ensured and justice served.

Amidst the escalating tension, a call for calm and legal recourse came from Youth President Chinagorom Cyriacus, who implored his peers to allow the law to address the wrongdoing.

“We must temper justice with restraint and ensure that our actions do not mirror the injustice we stand against,” Cyriacus stated, advocating for a peaceful resolution and legal accountability for those responsible for Nwaneri’s death.

The Imo Police Command has since intervened, taking charge of the situation to prevent further violence.

In a statement, Nigerian Army PRO Joseph Akubo acknowledged the gravity of the allegations and assured the public that any military personnel found to be implicated in the incident would face appropriate disciplinary actions.

“The military does not condone such acts and will ensure that justice is served,” Akubo affirmed.

As the investigation unfolds, the Umulogho community remains on edge, unified in their grief and their call for justice.

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