The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB called on friends of Biafra and supporters of freedom to join the group in today’s peaceful remembrance march of the fallen heroes of the Biafran struggle.
The media houses who were also invited to witness the Anambra state march in the statement by the group’s spokesman, Emma Powerful, had inglorious stories to report of the march.
In Asaba, Delta state, about seven persons were confirmed dead following what the Police PRO termed a ‘protest’ by members of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB). The Acting Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), in Delta, SP Charles Muka, confirmed this in a statement. He added that the police recorded two casualties.
The statement further said that five members of MASSOB were killed by military officers in confrontations with the group along the Asaba-Onitsha Expressway in Asaba. The military had arrested and brought eight members of MASSOB to the police who were now in custody.
The protesters, according to the statement turned violent and attacked the policemen deployed to monitor the protest. Two of the policemen were killed and two others injured.
The incident had occurred along Anwai Road in Asaba Delta. A fight had broken out between the members of MASSOB and the policemen. An eyewitness, Mr Uche Okelue, reported that the fracas broke out after a police team threw teargas at the marchers in an effort to disperse them. He told newsmen,
“The police used teargas on the MASSOB people as they were protesting along Anwai Road this morning, so the people got angry and attacked the policemen with knives and broken bottles. They caught one policeman, beat him up before stabbing him to death; it was a fierce confrontation as everyone ran in different directions.”
Another eyewitness, Mr Ben Onwordi, said that another fight had occurred between the police and MASSOB members at the popular Mammy Market Junction on Nnebisi Road, Asaba.
“As the group were protesting, the police patrol vehicle came behind them and tried to disperse them but the MASSOB people resisted and in the process they clashed and many people were injured. The MASSOB people damaged the police patrol vehicle, vandalising the windscreen and doors before all of them fled into different directions.”
The statement narrated:
“We had to deploy our officers to ensure that the protest was peaceful but we were surprised that the people turned violent. To our surprise, they started attacking our men and at Okwe Junction in Abraka area of Asaba, the group killed a police corporal and took his AK47 riffle.
“Also along the Dennis Osadeby Way in Asaba, they wounded a police officer and took his anti-riot gun. This group also attacked and wounded two policemen, suspected to be marine police, and threw them into the River Niger at Cable Point in Asaba and in the process one died and one was rescued.
This brings the casualty number to two with two others injured on the side of the police. The protesters also attacked military vehicles along the Asaba-Onitsha Expressway which left four members of the group dead and eight others arrested and brought to the police headquarters.”
The statement added that a pregnant woman was hit by a stray bullet during the fracas. She is now receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba.
In Enugu, no fewer than 13 suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) were arrested by the Police for alleged unlawful protest in Enugu. The Enugu Police spokesman, Mr Ebere Amaraizu told newsmen that the suspects were arrested on Obiagu Road during the march to commemorate Biafran fallen heroes.
The members of MASSOB were rounded up based on intelligence information. Suspects in their reactions maintained that they had converged to pray at the spot before embarking on peaceful march with flags in commemoration of Biafran independence.
In Nsukka, more than 40 members of MASSOB were arrested at St. Theresa’s cathedral, Nsukka while attending a special thanksgiving mass service hosted as part of the Remembrance day.
The zonal leader of MASSOB in Enugu North, Chief James Omeke said that police ambushed the catholic cathedral and quietly sneaked into the church and arrested the members in their solemn moment. He protested the move by the Enugu state police. He was adamant that “the arrest, harassment and intimidation of the members would not deter movement for the actualization of Biafran republic but would spur the struggle to freedom.”