- Nigerian Army arrests members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for promoting support for Biafra referendum
- The army spokesperson, Sagir Musa, dismisses reports that soldiers of 144 Battalion shot three persons in the state
Six members of the proscribed secessionist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), have been arrested by the Nigerian Army for declaring that will be no elections in Abia state and the southeast.
The group was also accused of calling for people to support the Biafran referendum to back their secessionist agenda.
The army spokesman, Sagir Musa, who disclosed the arrest of the IPOB members in a statement also dismissed reports that soldiers of 144 Battalion on routine patrol in Aba general area of Abia state shot three persons and that one of them had died, PR Nigeria reports.
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“The attention of the 82 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to an online news publication gathering attention in social media published by an online news platform – Starcoded.com.ng on 7th February 2019 alleging that some soldiers of 144 Battalion on routine patrol in Aba general area of Abia State have shot 3 persons and one of them has died instantly," the army said.
“The Division wishes to state that although there was an incidence involving 144 Battalion patrol team with some traders at Asa – Nnentu spare parts market in Ugwunagbo Local Government Area of Abia State, at no time was anybody shot at, wounded or killed as lopsidedly and therefore wrongly reported by the medium. However, six members of proscribed independent People of Biafra (IPOB) were arrested and handed over to the Nigerian Police Abia State Command.
“For record purpose this was what happened; – at about 1200 hours on Wednesday the 6th of February, 2019, troops of the Battalion on exercise EGWU EKE 111 were alerted on the massive presence of some youths allegedly disrupting commercial activities and pasting posters with the inscription that ” there will be no elections in Abia State and entire Biafra land, Support Biafran Referendum, Vote for Biafra, Vote for total freedom from slavery, among others which were unusually widely pasted on private shops around Aloaji general area."
The military said the soldiers acted professionally in ensuring that no person was harassed or molested by miscreants or violent secessionist agitators.
It said two military personnel only fired warning shot to disperse the surging crowd of traders and hoodlums that were obstructing troops’ movements.
The army called on the public to disregard the wrongful publication that there was wounding or killing of anybody by soldiers.
Meanwhile, an Igbo group has called all residents of the southeast region to avoid violence and support the Nigerian Army's operations in the area.
The group, Igbos in Nigeria Movement (INM) urged the people to be discerning in their choices in the general elections coming up in February and March.
INM said that strategies that have failed the region in the past must not be repeated again since they will yield the exact same results.
The movement's president, Ifeanyi Igwe, while speaking in Abuja on Friday, February 8, said it is important that residents of the southeast states cooperate with the Nigerian Army and other security agencies in ensuring that the elections are not hijacked by thugs that hide under agitation to foment trouble.
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