Biafran War Massacre – The shocking massacre of the non-violence and unarmed members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), by security agents in Onitsha, have been defended by the 82nd Division, Nigerian Army as a normal military exercise.
The army division claimed that their shooting dead of unarmed and non-violence demonstrators is in line with Military rule of engagement and it merely invoked the extant Rules of Engagement (ROE) to resort to self-defence and protect the strategic Niger Bridge.
The military command according to Hope For Nigeria claimed that they killed the demonstrators in order to to prevent reinforcement by the pro-Biafran members, apparently surging ahead from the far side of the strategic Niger Bridge in Onitsha.
The Army claimed that we killed only five members of demonstrators of MASSOB/IPOB, eight had bullet wounds, while nine others were arrested.
The Deputy Army Public Relations Officer, Colonel H. A. Gambo, in a statement claimed that unarmed members of the IPOB and MASSOB launched a combined attack on the peace-loving Onitsha people as well as security agencies at about 0415 hours on May 30, 2016, to mar President Muhammadu Buhari’s first anniversary in government.
According to Hope For Nigeria, the statement continued, “the attention of the general public is, hereby, drawn to the unwarranted attack launched by combined members of Movement for Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, against the peace-loving populace as well as security agencies at about 0415 hours on May 30, 2016.
“This attack was purported to have been orchestrated to mar the first anniversary of the present democratic government as part of the activities earmarked to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Biafra.
“Due to the widespread panic, tension and apprehension that generated from the activities of MASSOB and IPOB members, security agencies which comprised detachments of the Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police, Department of State Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, were compelled to intervene, in consonance with constitutional provisions of aid to civil authority where and when such occasion demands.
“The over-arching imperative to ensure a reign of peace, security and stability in this circumstance was most starring.” How it happened Continuing, the army said: “However, the MASSOB/IPOB members, who had earlier assembled at a school location on Ataa Road, near Saint Edmund’s Catholic Parish, Maryland, Nkpor-Agu in Anambra State resorted to fierce attack against the intervening security agencies that were carrying out their legitimate mandate.
“The nature of this attack involved brazen employment of various types of fire arms and all sorts of crude weapons, volatile cocktail such as acid and dynamites. “Instructively, troops of 82 Division Nigerian Army, as the lead agency of the security agencies, had to invoke the extant Rules of Engagement (ROE) to resort to self-defence, protection of the strategic Niger Bridge, prevent re-enforcement of the pro-Biafran members apparently surging ahead from the far side of the Niger Bridge at Onitsha.
“All these efforts were in order to de-escalate the palpable tension as well as ward off the apparent threats to lives and property in the general area. In the aftermath of the fire fight that ensued, many of our troops sustained varying degrees of injury. “These injured troops are currently receiving treatment at own medical centre.
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The statement added, “similarly, five members of MASSOB/IPOB were killed, eight wounded, while nine were arrested for due legal actions. “This unfortunate incident, notwithstanding, 82 Division, Nigerian Army, wishes to assure all of its professional commitment to the protection of lives and property of the good people of Anambra State and, indeed, across its entire area of responsibility in tandem with the recent directive of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the Chief of Defence Staff to the Chief of Army Staff to avert occurrences of such unwarranted and uncivilized attacks against the good and law-abiding people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
IPOB stated that it has earlier raised alarm that security operatives were going to attack them during the Biafra Day, but no action was taken to stop the attack on people, who were not armed in any way. Media and Publicity Officer of IPOB, Mr. Emma Powerful, said Nigerian security agencies, particularly the Army and the Police, lied by saying that they were attacked by IPOB and other pro-Biafra agitators, who were not bearing arms.
The statement said:”IPOB under the leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu does not carry any weapon, whether dangerous or not. That is why even the clergy, doctors, lawyers and people of diverse professions can identify and show solidarity with us. We, therefore, condemn the killing of unarmed IPOB members and other Biafra agitators at Nkpor and Onitsha.”
Mr Emma Powerful shedding more light on what happened: “Members of IPOB who travelled from outside Anambra State, on arrival, moved into St Edmund Catholic Church along Nkpor-Umuoji Road to seek the consent of God Almighty, who has been guiding us in this noble project. “The worst side of the attack was that our members, who were coming to honour the Biafra fallen heroes and heroines had not reached the venue of the ceremony before they met their untimely death.
That was why nobody could say that IPOB flag was being waved, unlike before.” Pro-Biafra groups vow to take up arms Angered by the killing of their members, the pro-Biafra groups, yesterday, vowed to take up arms towards the secession of Biafra. This was even as MASSOB blamed Anambra State Governor, Wille Obiano, over what it described as acts of cowardice, inferiority complex, unsteadiness expressly exhibited by his administration which allowed the security agents to unleash terror on his subjects.
In a statement made by MASSOB Leader, Uchenna Madu, it accused Igbo leaders of sabotaging their cause while demanding the release of all detained pro-Biafran agitators. The statement read: “We condemn the brutality and the unprovoked killing of non-violent Biafran agitators during the annual anniversary of Biafra declaration mostly in Anambra State. The magnanimity of Nigerian soldiers and other security agents has been shown on the attack on armless Biafrans. This shows their primitiveness and unprofessionalism in discharging their duties. “It also shows the high level of ethnic, religious and pathological hatred against the people of Biafra by the Nigerian government.
The brutal onslaught against the people of Biafra is an indirect call that the non-violent Biafran agitators should start the militant way in Biafra restoration. We will, therefore, answer that call. “Today, Nigeria economy is bleeding because of the intimidating, consistent activities of the Niger Delta Avengers. MASSOB roundly blames Willie Obiano, the Governor of Anambra State, who out of cowardice, inferiority complex and unsteadiness expressly allowed the security agents to unleash terror on his subjects.
“Anambra State is part of Biafra, and we shall continue to exist and have our programmes in Anambra State. MASSOB also noticed with disappointment the cowardly silence of key Igbo leaders, who thought that the activities of Biafran agitators do not concern them. MASSOB demands the unconditional release of all Biafra agitators arrested on Monday.
“We also demand the release of bodies of dead ones and the release of Maxi Nnamdi Kanu, Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawuisi, Ben Onwuka and 23 others detained at Awka and Onitsha prisons. “These men are prisoners of conscience, who committed no criminal offence.
They were only exercising their fundamental rights of existence.” Getting bail The Imo State Police Command, yesterday, said it had released all the citizens arrested in Owerri, alongside members of IPOB, and MASSOB. – Hope For Nigeria