At least three people have been killed while 15 houses, including the palace of the traditional ruler of Aborshi Izombe Community in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo, have been razed.
Witnesses blamed soldiers on reprisal for the incident.
The soldiers were said to be angered by the killing of two of their colleagues by youths of Izombe.
A witness said youths protesting the killing of a young man identified as Chukwunoso Iherue, a native of Umuokwu Izombe, Oguta LGA, was suspected to have been killed by soldiers.
In protest, they were said to have killed two soldiers.
Another source in the community told our correspondent that the soldiers and the youths were engaged in supremacy tussle over oil bunkering in the community.
The source said, “I was informed that two military men were killed and their vehicle set ablaze after the military killed one young man in Umuokwu Izombe, Oguta Local Government Area of Imo, this morning.”
“The problem arose from misunderstanding between the boys and soldiers over crude oil bunkering. Lately Izombe, Eziorsu, Osobod communities in Oguta have been notorious for bunkering operation. Civilians ad security men are all involved in the illegal business.
“The soldiers were said to have killed one Chukwunoso Iherue before the youths fought back leading to the military personnel storming the palace of HRH Eze Pius Muforo of Aborshi Izombe Community, where they were attacked.
“Latest information is that soldiers have burnt down the palace of HRH Eze Muforo and two others now in Umuokwu Izombe.
“The soldiers attacked the community in 18 Hilux vans carrying petrol and three war tanks. My cousin living next to our compound told me that her house was burnt down after which the soldiers went and burn down Chief C A Onyeukwu’s buildings.”
Spokesman of the 34 Artillery Brigade, Capt Joseph Akubo, when contacted said he had not got a clear picture of what actually happened.
He promised to get back but had not done so as at the time this report was filed.