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August 18, 2018

Awarra boils again

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  • 3 killed, houses burnt

  • Villagers flee

Awarra Community in Ohaji/Egbema LGA, Imo State is  in the news again. As usual, it is about killings and destruction of property by two deadly cult groups ravaging the community – Dewell and Degbam.


The latest clash between the “terrorists” has left three people dead, five houses burnt, forcing the villagers to flee. The Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) are now taking refuge in St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish Awarra and neighbouring parishes.


An IDP told The Leader in Owerri on Sunday that the cult groups are killing not only themselves, but also innocent people, burning houses and raping women. “The whole community is deserted, as I’m talking to you now.”


“The popular Asaa market did not hold on Saturday, July 17 following heavy shootings the previous day. Only old people, children and the cultists are remaining in Awarra currently.”


The Leader learnt that the latest disturbance was due to the killing of a member of one of the cult groups forcing the other gang to retaliate.


“When they storm your house in search of their opponent and if their target is not at home or has escaped, they burn their family houses or kill their parents. That is why Awarra is not safe for anybody.


“The Catholic Youths and Mary League girls have also fled to other communities to avoid being conscripted into the cult groups or raped.


“No development is taking place in Awarra because those who are supposed to bring such development have fled the town.


“Most prominent members of the community no longer come home. Some have had their residential buildings burnt.”


When The Leader visited Awarra last year, a section of the community looked like a war ravaged area with burnt buildings here and there. It is difficult to see a nice building standing in Awarra. They have been razed down.


“Priests and pastors in Awarra are also badly affected. Since the faithful no longer reside in the community or go to farm, food in no longer common.


“Our priests are suffering. Few people go to church nowadays because most of the faithful have fled the town. Can you imagine priests buying garri and yam in Awarra, the food basket of the state. It’s terrible.


“The solution is the deployment of more soldiers to the area. The cultists overpowered the police and sacked their station.  At present only a unit of soldiers, with one Hilux van is providing security in the large autonomous community and they cannot be everywhere at the same time, and the cultists monitor their movements before striking.


More two units are needed to check or minimize the activities of the cultists. “Also, we need prayers. The only language the cultists hear is “tooth for tooth, an eye for an eye. It is a vicious circle. There is need for peace, reconciliation, and forgiveness.”


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