5th September 2018 Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law is concluding the investigative findings of its yearlong investigation into the Nigerian Army Python Dance massacre in Igbo Land (Southeast); principally targeted at Abia State especially the innocent citizens and residents of the State.
The so called “Army Python Dance 11” was carried out between 8th September and 14thOctober 2017 in Asa/Ogwe, Aba, Isiala-Ngwa and Umuahia (Afara-ukwu) areas of Abia State; leading to death of no fewer than 180 and 140 terminal injuries. Statistical breakdown of the killings are: (1) Afara-ukwu Palace massacre (105 deaths), Isiala-Ngwa (20 deaths) and Aba/Asa-Ogwe(55 deaths).
The increase in death toll recorded in Aba and Asa/Ogwe and environs was as a result of recent discovery of 38 more corpses inside Umu-Ura, Ogwe Village Forest, which increased the number from 25 earlier given to 55. Bulk of the 140 injuries arose from Afara-ukwu massacre of 14th September 2017 while the remaining was sustained in Isiala-Ngwa and Aba/Asa-Ogwe areas. In all these, not even a single soldier lost his or her life and none was inflicted with gunshot injury of any kind; not even a hunter’s Dane gun injury.
We had on 4th June and 19th June 2018 released first and second part of the investigative findings contained in their link
Also on 27th August 2018, we released the report of our recent investigation into the discovery of 38 lifeless and decomposed bodies found inside Ogwe-Ukwa West forest in Abia State. The circumstances of their killing were strongly linked to the same Army Python Dance murderous exercise of September 2017 in Abia State. Our said visit to Umu-Ura Village Forest in Ogwe Autonomous Community, Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State took place on Sunday, 19th August 2018. See the following link in their website
General Summary: The army massacre operation, code named “Nigerian Army Python Dance 11” was officially planned to be conducted between 15thSeptember and 15thOctober 2017, but was commenced with troops deployment and confrontational patrols on 8th September 2017, leading to soldiers besieging Umuahia and environs and inflicting threats and fears on their civilian residents including first siege laid on Afara-ukwu and its Royal Palace on Sunday, 10th September 2017. The murderous Army Python Dance exercise ended on 14th October 2017.
The Army operation, turned into genocidal massacre of over 180 unarmed and defenseless citizens of Igbo Ethnic Nationality in three days of 12th, 13th and 14thSeptember 2017, was directed by President Muhammadu Buhari after a meeting he held with the country’s Service Chiefs particularly the Nigerian Army’s Chief of Staff and the Chief of Defense Staff. The genocidal operation was coordinated by the Defense Headquarters and supervised and executed by the Chief of Army Staff.
Following the shocking account of casualty figures most likely received by the Defense Headquarters; arising from the army’s broad day and late night invasions of Aba and environs and Umuahia and environs on 12th, 13th and 14th September 2017 particularly that of Afara-ukwu and its Palace, which took place on 14thSeptember 2017, the Defense Headquarters, in desperate and panicky moves, issued a statement on 15th September 2017 designating a main pro Biafra group as a terror organization.
This was followed up by President Muhammadu Buhari who on Sunday (blue law day), 17th September 2017 vindictively proclaimed same. A Judge was also procured on Wednesday, 20thSeptember 2017, to issue an interim order upholding the presidential proclamation; all for the purpose of justifying the massacre and escaping culpability.
In the Army’s shooting and killing spree exercise that took place in four major locations in Abia State, scores of innocent and defenseless citizens were also made to disappear till date. Apart from the fact that bodies of most of those shot and killed by soldiers were taken to unknown locations till date, further findings revealed that they must have been buried shallowly in secret graveyards and most likely decimated with raw acid substances to erase traces; or dumped on earth surface inside isolated bushes, forests, ditches, deep gullies; or thrown off bridge inside rivers in dead of the night.
A clear case in point was the discovery in September 2017 and August 2018, respectively, of dozens of slain bodies of unarmed citizens inside Umuahia and Ogwe-Ukwa West forests where they were dumped in different locations; with strong circumstantial pieces of evidence linking them to their tribe and faith as well as event, scene, date and location of the Army Python Dance 11 exercise in Abia State. In the case of discovery of bodies of eight slain Igbo citizens inside Umuahia Forest, for instance, they were instantly recognized by their colleagues as those met at the Palace of Eze Israel Okwu Kanu in Afara-ukwu near Umuahia on 14th September 2017. They must have been arrested alive and taken away by soldiers leading to their secret executions. The eight slain corpses were found barely seven days after the end of Army Python Dance 11 in Abia State.
In the case of 13 bodies of slain unarmed and defenseless pro Biafra activists found inside a burrow pit located along Aba-Port Harcourt Road in Abia State, it was also discovered by Amnesty Int’l researchers that some of them were before their executions tied with cut pieces of “Biafra flags”. The 13 corpses were discovered on 12thFebruary 2016 by local whistle blowers and later investigated by Intersociety and Amnesty Int’l during their respective visits on 14th and 18thFebruary 2016. They were shot, killed and dumped three days after the Aba National High School massacre of 9th February 2016 by soldiers of 144 Battalion, located in Asa Community, Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State.
We also make bold to say that all the no fewer than 180 killed and 140 terminally shot and injured in the Army Python Dance 11 in Abia State were innocent, unarmed, defenseless and law abiding citizens killed while going about their legitimate businesses at Asa and Isiala-Ngwa military checkpoints or outside the two major military checkpoints after they must have been arrested and taken into custody or at their places of work such as around their market stalls’ vicinities and food shops or in their dwelling houses during sleep or at meeting venues such as the solidarity rallies of 14th September 2017 at the Palace of Eze Israel Okwu Kalu in Afara-ukwu Kingdom, near Umuahia.
Saddening and shocking too is the fact that all the perpetrators (i.e. soldiers and their field and formation heads) involved or fingered in the massacre are still on the prowl with none arrested, tried or convicted till date. None of the wounded citizens was treated by Federal Government or Government of Abia State nor any form of compensation awarded to any of the slain victim’s families till date.
These, domestically, amount to multiple murders, attempted murders and torture (assault occasioning grievous bodily harm), punished feloniously and grievously. They are also fundamental breaches of the international human rights and humanitarian laws such as perpetration and perpetuation of ethno-religious cleansing, racial persecution, crimes against humanity and genocide; severely punishable under the international criminal law including the Rome Statute of 1998, ratified or acceded to by Nigeria on 27th September 2001.
Names Of The Massacred Victims: (1) Chinedu Uwandu (Imo State), (2) Ogochukwu Joseph Ogbah (Abia State), (3) Henry Ogar Ogoyi (Cross River State), (4) Kelechi Meshach Metu (Imo State), (5) Odika Osime Chukwuma (Anambra State), (6) Onyeka Ujam (Enugu State), (7) Celestine Aga (Enugu State), (8) Joseph Ifeanyichukwu Agbayisi (Anambra State), (9) Blessing Adaku Odoemena (Abia State), (10) Imo Emele Uduma Okemini (Abia State), (11) Emmanuel Ugochukwu Nwachukwu (Imo State), (12) Okwudiri Samuel Obika (Imo State), (13) Anayo Anyanwu (Imo State), (14) Udoette Miracle Udofia (Akwa Ibom State) and (15) MaCois Palibor (Bayelsa State).
Others are: (16) Ogbogu Okoro (Abia State), (17) Chigozie Ikechukwu (Abia State), (18) Ikenna Okorie (Abia State), (19) Adiele Paul (Abia State), (20) Ahamuefuna Austin Nnamdi (Imo State), (21) John Akor (Benue State), (22) Emmanuel Ogbuh (Imo State), (23) Kevin Nnamdi Ikeme (Abia State), (24) Sunday Nnadozie (Imo State), (25) Iteshi Celestine Chukwuka (Ebonyi State), (26) Ndubuisi Arum (Abia State), (27) Sunday David, (28) Chukwudi Mmadu, (29) Levi Okwudiri and (30) Chukwueke Kalu.
Shot & Wounded Victims: Kingsley Olisakwe, Chinedu Okeke, Nzube Elekwa, Peter Ohiagu, Wisdom Joseph, John Evans, Peter Chukwu Blessing, Chibuisi Obialo, Obinna Nwaobasi, Ginika Basil, Uche Ikechukwu, Odinaka Onyeka, Michael Solomon, Eje Friday, Onwuabuchi Alozie Uwa, Moses Okeke, Isaiah Mmaduabuchi, Anayo John, Favor Ndudunachi, Innocent Odeke and Basil Nwagu.
Those Still In Aba Prison Since 2017: Victor Okafor, Gabriel Isaiah, Emeka Umelo, Nze Samuel, Onyeike Ogba, Godwin Ndukwe, Emmanuel Christian, Uchenna Onyema, Zeruwa Kalu, David Ede, Ogadinma Ejiekwe, Ada Uche and Chukwudi Eugene, Nzubechukwu Odinanwa, Chukwuemeka Ogbodo (Enugu Maximum Prison), Sunday Okafor (Umuahia Prison), Ikenna Igwe and Bright Sunday Okoro (Port Harcourt Prison since January 20, 2017).
There are also: Yadiebube Victor, Chisom Nwankwo, Frank Iwuchukwu Igwu, Ifeanyi Nwankwo, Oforbike Ogbonnaya, Nwaogu ThankGod, Udodinma Christian, Sunday Udofia and Ndifreke Achibong (all still in Port Harcourt Prison since 23rd May 2018).
Perpetrators: In the course of naming or identifying the perpetrators of the Army Python Dance 11 in Igbo Land State of Abia in September 2017, vicarious and direct perpetrators were identified. This is in accordance with the universal best practices and law. In this case, also, most of the vicarious perpetrators were found to have played the roles of direct perpetrators having ordered, supervised and executed the massacre; facilitated the destruction of evidence and protected and still protect the culprits and refused and still refuse to bring them to justice till date.
By vicarious liability or responsibility, it is concisely defined as the responsibility of the superiors for the acts of their subordinates or, the responsibility of any third party that had the “right, ability or duty to control the activities of a violator, but failed or declined to do same. It is also a liability assigned to an employer or other principal for his agent’s or employee’s acts performed in the course of employment or other duty.
Names Of Vicarious Culprits: (1) President Muhammadu Buhari, (2) Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai (COAS), (3) Lt Gen Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin (CDS), (4) Major Gen John Enenche (former Defense Headquarters Spokesman), (5) Governor Victor Okezie Ikpeazu (Governor of Abia State: for accessory before and after the fact) and CP Anthony Ogbizi (Commissioner of Police Abia State: for accessory after the fact).
Names Of Direct Culprits/Perpetrators: Major Gen Adamu Baba Abubakar (then GOC, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu, (2) Brig Gen Abdul Kalifah Ibrahim (then Brigade Commander, 14 Brigade, Ohafia in Abia State), Brig Gen E.A. Anaryu (then Commander, Army Transport, 82 Division), Brig Gen A.I. Adegboye (then Commander, Army Supply 82 Division), Brig Gen Mark Mamman (then Commander, 44 Army Engineering, 82 Division), Brig Gen I.H. Bature (then Commander, 34 Brigade, Obinze, near Owerri, Imo State), Lt Col Sidi Kasim Umar (then Commanding Officer, 144 Battalion, Asa-Ukwa West, Abia State), Navy Captain Abdullahi Aminu (then Commander, Nigerian Navy School of Finance & Logistics, Owerre-Nta, Abia State) and Col Sagir Musa (Deputy Director of Information, 82 Division, Enugu).
The Combatant soldiers who carried out the massacre are represented here by one of them identified via his service badge/identity on 14th September 2017 during the Army massacre at the Afara-ukwu Palace of Eze Israel Okwu Kalu as “Utsman Mustafa”; a Fulani-Hausa Muslim soldier caught opening fire, alongside others, at unarmed and innocent gatherers at the Afara-ukwu Palace amid shouting of “kill the pigs”! “Kill the pigs”!! “Kill the pigs”!!! This is translated to mean “kill any unarmed and defenseless citizen of Igbo extraction on sight and as presidentially directed or sanctioned”.
Emeka Umeagbalasi (Criminologist & Graduate of School Studies)
Principal Head, Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Barr Obianuju Joy Igboeli
Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Barr Chinwe Umeche
Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
Barr Ndidiamaka C. Bernard
Head, Int’l Justice & Human Rights Program