The Nigerian army has reacted to the killing of two soldiers identified as Master Warrant Officer (MWO) Audu M Linus (retired) and Private(Pte) Gloria Matthew, in Imo state.
Nigerian Army spokesperson, Onyema Nwachukwu, confirmed that the couple had embarked on the trip to fulfill the traditional rites of conjugating their matrimony, but were killed while in transit.
A report online quoted a military source as saying that the woman was first raped before she was shot dead along with her fiancé. The duo were later beheaded.
A video of the incident was allegedly made and circulated it online.
The source said, “They were on their way to Imo State on Saturday when the incident happened. The man, a Master Warrant Officer, and the woman, a Lance Corporal, were on transit when they met the criminals who killed them and made videos and circulated online. The woman was raped before they shot at them and cut off their heads.
“The man was a member of the 19 regular intakes while the wife was of the 79RI. The man still has a father; his brother is also a soldier working at a battalion in Kaduna State.”
In its statement, the Army said:
“The Nigerian Army (NA), on Saturday 30 April 2022 received information on the gruesome, barbaric and most despicable manner in which members of the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) and its armed affiliate, Eastern Security Network(ESN) murdered in cold blood, two soldiers Master Warrant Officer (MWO) Audu M Linus (retired) and Private (Pte) Gloria Matthew, who were on transit to Imo state for their traditional wedding. Apparently, the soldiers had embarked on the trip to fulfill the traditional rites of conjugating their matrimony, as the very well respected and cherished Igbo tradition demands.
“Ironically, the fact that one of the soldiers, Pte Gloria Matthew who hails from Nkwerre LGA of Imo state, has an ethnic affiliation with the good people of South East Nigeria did not prevail on the sensibility of the dissidents.
“This dastardly act, one too many, clearly portends the deep seated hate, desperation and lawlessness with which foot soldiers of IPOB/ESN have being unleashing terror on Ndigbo, whom they claim they are on a mission to protect and emancipate, as well as other innocent Nigerians who are resident or transiting the South East.
“This gruesome murder, in which they did not spare even their own child, clearly depicts callousness, impenitence and is indisputably, a brazen act of terrorism perpetrated by IPOB/ESN.
“Though the dissident groups have continued to live in denial, while masquerading as unknown gunmen in their criminal violent campaign in the region, the NA will ensure the perpetrators of this dastardly act unleashed on its personnel do not go unpunished. While we deeply condole with the families, relations and close associates of the victims, the NA has commenced investigation to unmask and bring the criminals to book.
“Members of the public are please enjoined to oblige security agencies actionable information that will lead to the arrest of these criminals.”