Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 11 February 2016 | 8,966 times
Facts have emerged on why soldiers shot and killed members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) who gathered in Aba for prayers on Tuesday.
While MASSOB insists that 22 of their members were wasted by the army, the police said it picked up only two dead unidentified bodies of the pro-Biafra groups.
According to the Public Relations Officer of Abia State Police Command, Onyeke Udeviotu, the deceased were killed when members of the pro-Biafra groups resisted the arrest of their leaders by soldiers who stormed the prayer ground.
In an interview with newsmen in Aba yesterday, the PPRO said: “Some of our men that were on convoy patrol got information that the pro-Biafra groups were harassing the students.
“Then the Aba Area Commander, Mr Peter Wabara, ordered the policemen on ground to go there and make members of the pro-Biafra groups to leave the place as the school they were using was in session and if they had wanted to hold their meeting, they should have found another place to avoid any form of disturbance in the schools.
“So when the police entered the place they found that the pro-Biafran groups were relatively calm so the police took positions to ensure that they did not do any harm. Police was only there to ensure they did not come to cause breakdown of law and order on the streets.
“Just as the police was trying to persuade them to leave the place, the military drove in and arrested five of their members, began to take them away but the group members blocked the way of the military personnel. That was when they started shooting at them.
“When the police was leaving the place, they picked two dead unidentified persons from the ground and arrested 20 others while one who was badly injured was taken to the hospital.”
But the Abia State Coordinator of MASSOB, Mr Anayo Okpala, accused the police of hiding the truth.
Okpala maintained that the group has been using the venue for prayers and meetings over the years, explaining that they had gathered to pray for the release of the IPOB Leader and Radio Biafra Director, Mr Nnamdi Kanu, when the police stormed the venue and was later joined by the army, which began to shoot at innocent and unarmed citizens.
According to the MASSOB zonal leader, the prayers were held in all the states of the South-East and South-South in few venues.
“From yesterday to this morning, we counted 22 dead persons and many had varying degrees of injuries sustained either from gun shots or the stampede that resulted from the shooting. Many were still in various hospitals. Some died at the prayer ground but some others have died in the hospitals where they were taken to,” he said.
Okpala identified those arrested by security operatives to include five Coordinators of the pro-Biafra groups in Abia, Rivers and Imo states and many other members.
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