No fewer than 6 persons have been reportedly killed yesterday, while 30 were injured and 45 others arrested in Aba, Abia State as the peaceful protest embarked on by Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), requesting for the release of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, went sour.
The protest reportedly turned bloody when security agents, comprising of soldiers and policemen allegedly opened fire on the protesters, killing six members of the group, arresting 45 and leaving several others injured.
According to report, the protesters who gathered at National High School, along Port Harcourt-Aba road from where they usually march to other areas of the city as early as 9am, were still in prayer session when the soldiers and their police counterparts invaded the area and opened fire on the people, killing about 6 persons, arrested some leaders of the group and left several injured.
An IPOB member who wouldn’t want his name mentioned had this to say:
“In the morning, we gathered at Ibo National High School for prayers and address by the Aba coordinator.
“While the prayers were on, we noticed police patrol vans and because we locked the gate, they could not enter. They attempted to scale the fence, but could not. Shortly after, soldiers came in Hilux vans and scaled the fence.
“When they entered, they asked for our coordinator but we resisted them. The next thing we heard was gunshot. I can’t say how many died because there was a stampede as people tried to escape”.
Similarly, In Enugu, the members of the Nigeria Police Force in the state arrested 25 members of the IPOB, who had gathered at the Naira Triangle in preparation for a protest march, Vanguard reported.
The protest which had been tagged “mother of all protest marches” was cut-short by security agents who stormed the venue where protesters were trooping in numbers. The security operatives which came at the nick of time released shots of tear gas into the crowd, many took to their heels and several sustained injuries in the process.
The Media and Publicity officer of IPOB in the state, Mr. Emma Powerful condemned the attitude of the security agents towards his members, stating they were not a violent group and were only assembling for a peaceful protest march.
Abia State Human Rights organizations has also condemned the killing of defenceless protesters in the state and have called on the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Tukur Buratai and the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase to investigate into the dastardly acts and prosecute those found culpable, to serve as a deterrent to others.
“Over 10 people lost their lives during the protest against the detention of the Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu. Several others sustained various degrees of injuries as security agents clashed with protesters. Security agents must restrict themselves to the rules of their engagements in crisis situation,” he said.