The Nigerian Army, on Tuesday, condemned the brutal murder of two about-to-wed soldiers and noted that the action was perpetrated by members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra and its armed affiliate, Eastern Security Network.
The Army described as “gruesome, barbaric and most despicable”, the beheading of Master Warrant Officer Audu Linus (retired) and Private Gloria Matthew, who were on transit to Imo State for their traditional wedding when they were killed on April 30, 2022.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General, Onyema Nwachukwu, in a statement on Tuesday, said the act was terrorism taken too far.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that Matthew was first raped before she was shot dead along with her lover, Linus
The duo were later beheaded and the criminals made a video of the incident and circulated it online.
Reacting in the statement titled, ‘Gruesome Murder Of Two Soldiers By IPOB/ESN, Callous And Despicable’, the Army vowed that the assailants would not go unpunished.
The statement partly read, “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 been 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 indisputable, 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.”
The Federal Government had outlawed IPOB and designated the group a terrorist organisation in September 2017.
IPOB’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is currently in the custody of the Department of State Services and is facing terrorism-related charges before Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Abuja.