Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 19 January 2016 | 2,686 times
Two casualties of yesterday’s clash in Aba between soldiers and pro-Biafra protesters have been identified to be a 20-year-old apprentice trader, Chidozie Okafor, and another victim whose name was simply given as Tata.
It was gathered that late Okafor, said to be the only son of his parents, who came to Aba last year to learn trading, was shot dead on St. Michael’s Road at about 1pm by military men sent to check the protests by members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Okafor, according to a source, hailed from Omuohu in Eziagu Local Government Area of Enugu State.
A witness who gave his name as Okechukwu, an acquaintance of late Okafor, narrated that the late apprentice trader had gone to deposit money in the bank after which he headed to an eatery on St. Michael’s Road by York Street, where he had lunch.
According to Okechukwu, Okafor was on his way back to the shop when military men began to shoot at the protesting IPOB members who made bonfires on the road, thereby obstructing traffic and warning people to close their shops.
The witness said that the victim came to Aba in 2015 to learn trading of electronic appliances, empty discs and cassettes and was until his death, an apprentice at a shop in St. Michael’s Road neighbourhood.
A bullet hit the other victim, fondly called Taata, on the belly, leaving his intestines scattered and gushing out of his tummy. He was said to have died on the way while being rushed to the Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH), Aba, after being rejected by a private hospital.
Another witness who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the military men resorted to use of force and shot at protesters after they (protesters) had allegedly snatched two guns from the soldiers.
He also said that the protesters demolished two new traffic warden’s stands along Asa Road during the protest.
Abia State Police Commissioner, Habila Joshak, said he was not aware of the death of the young men, hence he and his men were at the Ariaria Police station (at the time he was contacted) to ensure that IPOB members did not burn the station.
Joshak absolved his men from using live bullets to control the protest, adding that he told his men to manage the protests in such a way that lives and properties are protected and not lost.
He warned that protesters in Abia should know that there is a ban on public protests for now hence, no one is allowed to threaten the lives of others or put them in fear during protests.
The CP said that the act of setting bonfires on the road to obstruct the traffic by the protesters was an act of recklessness and lawlessness which must be stopped to ensure peace.
The Commanding officer of the 44 Battalion, Asa, who is in charge of Aba metropolis, Lt. Col. Sidi Umar when contacted, said that his men arrested some protesters, adding that he would investigate to verify if there was any truth in the claim that soldiers killed some people during the protest. According to him, those arrested have been handed over to the oolice fur further action.
•Photo shows detained IPOB Leader Nnamdi Kanu.
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