Although earlier reports had said the Awgu natives were arrested by soldiers from Abia State and were currently being held at a military facility in Abia State, the military authorities have since maintained that such persons were not Nigerian soldiers.
The abducted persons who are from Ugwuneshi in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State were allegedly arrested by soldiers after a clash with some Fulani herdsmen in the area.
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They also demanded the immediate release of two women allegedly abducted by the herdsmen who have not been accounted for since they disappeared on their way to their farms.
The ultimatum which was contained in a statement signed by IPOB spokespersons, Bar. Emma Mmezu and Dr Clifford C. Iroanya, read:
“The raw show of power and bravado by Fulani herdsmen at Umuneshi, Awgu Community of Enugu State just cannot be accepted by any civilized society.
“The soldiers stormed the community, beat up and arrested all 76 youths, bundled them to zone 9, ordered them charged and remanded in prison without as much as allowing them to make statements.
“As at today the 76 youth remain locked up, the two women remain missing as Fulani supremacy reigns supreme”
“The brutal show of power and arrogant display of ‘we own Nigeria’ demonstrated by the Fulani is not only nauseating but despicable.
“When you add this to the brazen arrogance of display of Fulani republic flags in Ohafia, Abia State, and the provocative flying of Fulani flags in Agatu Benue State, Eket, Akwa Ibom, and many other places, the IPOB is convinced that the battle of total annihilation has been brought to our door steps by the avowed enemies of peace.
“Accordingly, the IPOB is hereby giving President Muhammadu Buhari 72 hours beginning from 6pm, Tuesday 29th March 2016, to release the 76 youths of Umeneshi Community, Awgu, together with the two women earlier abducted by the Fulani fighters.
“The Fulani flags flying over our ancestral land must also be removed within the same period failure of which the world will witness the first true feel of the anger of IPOB world wide. The era of consistently begging a mindless but determined enemy has suddenly come to an end. It is fire for fire. It is our generational duty to defend our honour as a people or be damned forever” they warned.
IPOB had earlier warned President Buhari that its members would resume the wave of protests in the south-east and parts of south-south zones, as it had endured enough waiting for the federal government to release its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who was arrested in 2015.