Details have emerged on how the men whose bodies were found floating on a river in Anambra State, South-East Nigeria, were SUFFOCATED to death. The shocking details of the heinous crime are contained in a report released this morning in Onitsha, the commercial hub of Anambra, by the leadership of the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety).
Entitled “Anambra Killing Fields: How Victims Were Suffocated To Death By Nigeria Police SARS,” it is the third of a society review by Intersociety, which had also indicted the Anambra State Police Command in the first two parts of the report released on February 19, 2013 and March 4, 2013 respectively.
Signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, and Comrade Justus Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk, the latest report says as follows:
The International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law can confirm to the world that most, if not all of those found floating on Ezu River of Death on 19th day of January, 2013, died from suffocation. It is recalled that we had in the part two of our explosive report on Ezu River of Death dated 4th day of Match, 2013, stated clearly that the methods used by Anambra SARS in killing those found in Ezu River were methods not restricted to gun-shots. That is to say that they might have been killed through other means, which include clubbing, lethal strings, strangulation, macheting, poisoning, rubber/tube tying, etc (including suffocation). Our further findings after part one and two of our report clearly indicate that most, if not all of them were killed through manually traceless means-called mass suffocation. This clearly explains why the Anambra State Police Command, having gotten briefing from its SARS leadership on how it killed the victims being referenced, hastily told the world that no gunshot wounds or bullets were found on any of the corpses.
Our Credible Findings:
A member of one of the armed community vigilante groups belonging to one of the communities that share common boundaries with the Awkuzu SARS headquarters in Awkuzu Community, Oyi LGA in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria, was arrested by the Awkuzu SARS sometime in early January 2013, and detained for two weeks for armed robbery. The freed vigilante operative told an under-cover investigator on condition of anonymity and face to face chat, that he was contracted by a trader to recover some debts owed him by another trader. He led other armed vigilante operatives to the debt recovery operation during which the debtor was beaten up and injured. The injured debtor reported him to Awkuzu SARS through the help of the debtor’s friend who is a SARS operative. The freed vigilante operative told the under-cover investigator that he regained his freedom through the intervention of his community’s chief security officer and the president general. He told the investigator that at Awkuzu SARS, detention cells are serially numbered from 1, 2, 3, and 4 and so on. Those in cell 4 and above are condemned detainees waiting for extra judicial executions and that extra judicial execution of detainees is almost on daily basis. He revealed that there are several torturous ways Awkuzu SARS operatives kill their detainees extra judicially and those who cannot afford huge illegal bail sums ranging from N50, 000 to N200, 000 or more as case may be, are among those being executed extra judicially.
On that fateful day, according to the freed vigilante, detainees from Awkuzu SARS dead or condemned cells, numbering dozens were brought out in a broad daylight, chained and handcuffed; made to lie face down on an open field within the SARS premises and under scotching sun and heat. All the assembled detainees were covered with thick tarpaulin under the watchful eyes of their killers and made to stay under it for hours during which they suffocated and died. Their evacuation and dumping into the Ezu River of Death, according to a prominent resident of Amansea, who monitored the dumping, was done three times within the period-Monday, Wednesday and Friday. That is to say that they were evacuated from SARS killing field and dumped into the Ezu River of Death on 14th, 16th and 18th day of January, 2013. This expressly strengthens the print and electronic media accounts that some of the corpses were in varying state of decomposition when they were discovered. The prominent resident also clarified that the blood stains found on the surface of the Amansea Old Enugu Road Bridge were those of one of the bodies discovered to be alive by Police SARS and possibly detainees who were ordered to evacuate the murdered bodies. To erase any traces, they were shot severally and confirmed dead before they were thrown into the dead river from the top of the Bridge in the late night/early hours of January 18/19, 2013.Some residents of the area confirmed the blood stains on top of the left side of the old bridge during one of our field team’s visits to the area on Sunday, March 10, 2013. Their dumping possibly took place between 12:00am and 3:00am, considered to be the hours of the dead.
Before the shocking discovery of dozens of murdered corpses in Ezu River of Death, some residents of the areas said that dumping of murdered corpses by the Anambra State Command has been a routine. Corpses dumped from the Old Bridge into Ezu River are converged by the River at Onaluokwe circle of the river in Amaowelle Village, Amansea, where they are either eaten by big fishes or decomposed and decayed.
Onaluokwe literally means a circle where the River receives objects and accommodates or accepts same. Reasons for dumping the extra judicially murdered corpses into the river in recent times, according to our findings, are due to several alarms raised by host communities on whose lands such murdered bodies were shallowly buried and liquidated with acid substances. Part of the reasons is also because of the procurement of some of such parcels of land by private citizens. For instance, the Onitsha Old Cemetery management has forbidden the Anambra Police SARS from dumping their extra judicially murdered bodies in the cemetery. The Nawfia by Ezugu-Agidi stream has been sealed off by the affected communities owing to the menace of littering the area with police-murdered corpses. Extra judicially murdered corpses are dumped inside the stream’s gully and liquidated with raw acid substances. The Agu-Awka dumping site, located near the Awka MOPOL 29 barracks, controlled by Ntoko Community, near Awka, has also been sealed owing to concerns expressed by the host community over indiscriminate dumping of extra judicially murdered bodies by Anambra Police SARS.
A female student of the Igbariam Campus of the Anambra State University also confirmed that extra judicial killing of detainees by the Awkuzu Police SARS is a routine. She revealed that Otuocha River (Omambala River) is another river where those extra judicially murdered by SARS are routinely dumped. Their dumping hours, according to her, are from 9:00pm and above, and their route is usually the Awkuzu Junction-Otuocha Road. This reinforces the recent discovery of about three or four murdered corpses in the River reportedly by media and the NSCDC. Some residents of Amansea and Awkuzu communities, who spoke to Intersociety, confirmed the atrocious acts under reference. A resident of Amansea community said that the murdered dead bodies are introduced by SARS to officers and men of the Nigeria Police Mobile Force, who mount permanent road block less than 100 meters away from the Old Enugu Road Bridge as wasted products. According to some residents of Akwuzu, spoken to by Intersociety, there are more than seven methods of torture and killing used in killing the SARS detainees extra judicially. Some of them are killing by suffocation through the use of thick tarpaulin and compacted and unventilated cells; killing by gun-shots; killing by machetes; killing by strangulation; killing by clubbing with planks or metal objects; killing by lethal strings; killing by infliction of grievous bodily torture; killing by circle-tying the detainee’s toes to waist and finger to shoulder regions, resulting in instant death; and killing by chaining the detainee’s legs and hands together and hanging him or her upside down on a ceiling hook to die. As a torture strategy, detainees are routinely brought out from cells, shot on their legs and fingers and sent back to their cells without treatments, which lead to their untimely death as a result of decaying wounds.
They are killed and disposed off if they become nuisance to SARS detention cells and environment. It is also a routine in Awkuzu SARS to order some detainees to evacuate the extra judicially murdered bodies, after which they are shot and killed to erase traces. Female detainees are treated inhumanly in their cells. A female student told Intersociety that she was detained for two weeks without being allowed to have a shower not even a single day. Awkuzu SARS cells are a clear replica of the German Concentration Camp.
Our Team’s Visit To The Crime Scenes:
Our visits covered the old and new road sides of the Ezu River of Death, the sites of the boreholes of controversy sunk by Governor Peter Obi and Senator Chris Ngige. The Ngige borehole is located after the police road block, while the Obi borehole, which has started running, is located along Nitel Road, all in Amansea. We also visited the River’s dumping points as well as former SARS dumping sites at Onitsha Old Cemetery, Agu-Awka and Nawfia Stream by Enugu-Agidi Junction on Onitsha-Enugu Dual Carriage Way. We spoke to some residents of Amansea and Awkuzu Communities including male and female students of UNIZIK and ANSU. At Amansea, we were told that as the villagers were discovering dozens of murdered corpses at the old and new sides of the two Enugu Roads, there were dozens of more murdered bodies floating on the Onaluokwe circle of the River. Some of the villagers told Intersociety that Onaluokwe circle is where the Ezu River of Death enlarges, which can only be accessed via canoe boats peddled by the Ijaws. They also alleged that some boat peddlers were hired and paid by police during the horrible saga to remove and shallowly bury those corpses floating on the River’s Onaluokwe circle to remove them from outsiders’ viewing.
Also, according to them, dumping extra judicially murdered corpses into the River mostly comes from the Anambra State Police Command and sometimes from Ugwuoba Community in Enugu State. Corpses emanating from Ugwuoba are usually insignificant in number (not more than three) at a time and they are usually alleged thieves caught by its local armed vigilante. To them, number of corpses found on January 19, 2013, was alarmingly higher than what they usually saw and that the reason why those corpses floated and refused to be pushed away by the River was because of drastic reduction in water currents owing to dry season. The number of corpses found on that fateful day, according to them, is 50 and far above when added to those floating on the River’s Onaluokwe circle same day. This confirms a disclosure by another university female student that a top operative of SARS had in December2012 at a liquor joint, complained that their cells as at then, contained over 100 detainees and that before the end of January 2013, half of them will be cleared(killed extra judicially). Dating female students of ANSU is a routine among SARS operatives.
Finally, we wish to state again that the leadership of Nigeria’s Intersociety has no scores to settle with the Nigeria Police Force as a public organization, but we have a series of scores to settle with ethnic cleansers, beasts and cannibals it employs and pays through Nigeria’s collective wealth to murder and torture with reckless abandon Nigeria’s innocent citizens particularly the young Igbo sons who are at their prime age of productivity. We suspect seriously that a policy of ethnic cleansing has perfectly been designed to exterminate the Igbo productive population in Nigeria. The level of hatred and hate policing activities being visited against the Igbo race in Nigeria is taking an alarming dimension day in day out. The race is incontestably an endangered species in Nigeria today. MASSOB organization, for instance, is not different from the O’ Odua People’s Congress in Southwest Nigeria, but while the group enjoys maximum freedoms and police protection, innocent MASSOB members and Igbo law-abiding traders are hunted on daily basis and slaughtered with impunity. It has been factually established that out of every five police officers from the northern Nigeria, four would kill any Igbo man extra judicially if they have an opportunity; out of every five police officers from the Southwest Nigeria, four would do same; whereas out of every five police officers from Southeast Nigeria, one would kill a northerner or a south westerner outside the law, if he or she has an opportunity. The ratio ethnic hatred in Nigeria between Hausa/ Yoruba and Igbo is 90/20. That is to say that 90% of the former hate the Igbos, while only 20% of the latter hate the former.
•Photo: Horrified residents of Amansea watching the floating corpses from on top of the bridge on the day the day the corpses suddenly floated on Ezu River last January 18.