Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Four years after the military raid of the Afaraukwu Ibeku Umuahia family compound of the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, during the infamous Operation Python Dance II, the family is yet to recover from the trauma of the invasion.
Kanu’s younger brother, Prince Emmanuel Kanu, in an interview with Ikengaonline, recounted the ugly experience of the September 14 military raid.
“It was like hell on earth. We can’t even wish our enemies such experience,” the family’s Spokesman said.
According to him, children in the community go into convulsion any time they hear the sound of siren because of the horror that took place during the period is better imagined.
He said that over 28 persons were killed in their compound, while scores were wounded during the raid.
According to him, vehicles and other property of the family were also destroyed by the invaders, adding that their parents, HRM Eze Israel Kanu, and Ugoeze Sally Kanu later died as a result of the trauma of the invasion.
Kanu’s family explained that contrary to claims in some quarters, the IPOB leader who was in the house, never fled but was forced to leave for safety by sympathizers.
He said that he decided to set the records straight because of the wrong narrative by some people either because they want to be mischievous or lack the right information of what actually transpired.
According to him: “The memory of what happened those days is scary. It began on the 8th, continued on the 10th and, on 14th September it was very bloody. So, many people were killed that day in our compound – over 28 people; and the invaders took away their corpses.
“They shot my cousin, Adaku Ozoemena, and she died. We saw many bodies littered in our house. One of them was killed near our parlour, five others were littered in the compound. The invaders carted away the bodies of many of the victims.
Some escaped with bullet wounds and later died inside the bush. Even innocent people coming to Umuahia from Aba were intercepted on the way. They were forced to lie down inside mud water and shot dead. About 24 of them were killed.
“They damaged vehicles and looted our house completely. The royal throne was desecrated by the invaders, and the damaged vehicles are still there for anybody to see.
“After the invasion, my parents died as a result of the trauma. They could not survive the trauma. Even when they were flown abroad, my mother died in Germany. And when my father was brought back, he still could not survive it but also died.
“For six months, our house was like a ghost town. Till today, when children in our village hear the sound of siren they shiver. If they hear siren they start crying, thinking the army guys are coming again.
“Till now, we have not recovered from the trauma of Operation Python Dance invasion of our compound.
“Remember that my brother Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was in the house when all these things were happening. He refused to leave because he said he did nothing to warrant the military raid in the compound.
“So, he refused to go out until he was forced to leave for his safety. So, it is unfair to claim that he jumped bail because he never said he would not appear in court. In fact, he was preparing to be in court in the next court adjournment but because of the invasion he had to seek refuge first.”
Kanu’s brother, said that the IPOB leader had earlier in a meeting with the South-East Leaders, presented his demands for onward transmission to the Federal Government, but expressed shock that the demands were never made known to the Federal Government before the invasion.
“Before the Operation Python Dance, there was a meeting my brother had with South-East Governors, he identified issues they should table before the Federal Government for consideration, but they never did so.
“So, it’s unfair for anybody to claim the Kanu ran away. He didn’t. He just took refuge because they came to kill him.
“This was why the Abia High Court sitting in Umuahia vindicated him in its recent judgement when it ruled against the security for the invasion.
“Contrary to allegations by the Government, Nnamdi Kanu did not jump bail nor is he afraid of coming to court. He was preparing for his court appearance before the military raided our house.
“It’s only a tree that will see its death and remain static. People should stop painting the wrong picture because of their ignorance of facts of the matter.”
He said that his brother was never afraid of appearing before the court to defend himself against the charges preferred against him by the Federal Government.