30 feared dead as IPOB, Military Clash in Onitsha
The 50th anniversary of Biafra Monday turned into an occasion for blood-spilling in the commercial city of Onitsha, with eye witnesses claiming that about 30 people, including a soldier, have been killed, while over 10 people were arrested.
In what proved to be a bad omen five bus loads of members of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) were intercepted on Sunday by soldiers and taken to an unknown destination while on their way back from a conference in Owerri in neighbouring Imo State.
The mayhem in Nkpor, a neighbouring town to the commercial city of Onitsha, it was gathered, started in the early hours of Monday (around 6am) when members of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) took to the streets with some of them nude, and were confronted by soldiers of the 312 Artillery Brigade. That confrontation allegedly led to scores of people losing their lives.
The pro-Biafra group blocked most of the major streets and roads in Onitsha and the Niger Bridge Head, which made most people to remain indoors with all the markets in Onitsha also closed.
Most of the killings were done at Nkpor where IPOB had chosen as a celebration point for the Biafra Day.
MASSOB leader, Mr. Uchenna Madu, however, said in a telephone interview said that his organisation was not involved in the protest, explaining that he had earlier issued a statement that this year’s Biafra Day should be celebrated quietly and that all MASSOB members should stay at home.
Madu said that though MASSOB was not involved in the protest, it was not enough reason to open fire on innocent people.
In his words: “Security operatives of the Federal Government are arresting and killing people who are non-violent. Is it because we are not armed?
“It appears the only language the Nigerian security understands is violence. This issue is not about MASSOB or IPOB. It is about Ndigbo generally. In the ongoing killings, innocent people were also targets.
“The government is negotiating with Niger Delta militants and faceless Boko Haram, but is threatening to wipe out pro-Biafra agitators because they are Igbo.”
When the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Mr. Alli Okechukwu, was contacted, he said the police was very busy clearing all the blocked roads in Onitsha.
“We are not counting the number of casualties at the moment, but to ensure that normalcy returns in Onitsha,” he stated. Newsexpress