The Imo Government has expressed sadness over the unfortunate events that occurred in Izombe, Oguta Local Government Area of the state recently, which led to loss of lives and destruction of property.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Declan Emelumba, decried the incident in a statement signed on Wednesday in Owerri.
Our correspondent recalls that the Spokesperson of the 34 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Obinze, Owerri, Capt. Joseph Akubo, had said gunmen attacked its officers on patrol at Izombe community
Akubo said the event which occurred on Saturday followed an increase in oil bunkering and criminal activities that led to the death of a truck driver.
However, Emelumba said in spite of the advice by government on the need for restraints despite provocations, the fracas between illegal oil bunkerers and security agencies was allowed to snowball into a fatal violence.
“Government also understands that the security agencies went on a reprisal attack after losing one of their own.
“But, since two wrongs cannot make a right, the matter instead of abating, escalated.
“The government insists that no matter the situation, the rules of engagement must always apply,”
He expressed the state government’s sympathies with the families of those, who lost either their loved ones or property in the ill-advised violence.
The Commissioner also disclosed that Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo had already ordered a holistic investigation into the remote and immediate causes of the crisis.
“While Government awaits the report of the investigation, both parties to the conflict are advised to maintain the peace.
“While the security agencies are urged to always ensure the maintenance of rules of engagement, the civilian populace are encouraged to refrain from provoking the men in uniform no matter the temptation,”
He said Government will continue to do all within its powers to ensure a harmonious relationship among all segments of Imo populace.