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Biafra: Five Killed, Several Injured During Jubilation On Kanu’s Release In Onitsha


By Ignatius Okpara, Onitsha

At least, five person were shot dead, while seven others sustained various degrees of injuries at the Niger Head Bridge Onitsha, on Thursday when security operatives clashed with members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), who were celebrating the release of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

Our Correspondent gathered that four of the dead victims were MASSOB and IPOB members, while the fifth was reported to be a soldier who was lynched by the mob, angered with the manner the soldiers shot at the jubilant crowd.

AFRICAN EXAMINER gathered that the Head Bridge, and other markets, such as wrapper, Medicine ply wood among others situated around the bridge were immediately locked up as a result of the erratic shooting by the military to scare the jubilant crowd away.

An eye-witness account had it that the IPOD and MASSOB members were marching towards the Asaba end of the bridge; singing solidarity songs in jubilation for the release of Kanu, when they were confronted by soldiers, who ordered them to go.

However, the refusal of the agitators to obey the security operatives sparked off serious disagreements, which eventually led to alleged opening of fire on the IPOD and MASSOB members.

Reacting to the incident, the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Ali Okechukwu, accused the pro-Biafra agitators of instigating their members to initiate an attack on the soldiers at the Niger Head Bridge and even attempted to strip them of their guns.

The PPRO, who was silent on the actual number of people killed, in the clash said: “I learnt that there was a disagreement between the Army, IPOB and MASSOB members, who mobilized their members to attack soldiers at the Niger Bridge Head.”

Leader of MASSOB, Uchenna Madu, in his reaction, said the news of the freedom of Mr. Kanu stimulated chanting of solidarity songs, as well as jubilation in Onitsha and other ‘Biafran’ lands.

He said those in Onitsha took their celebration to the plaque of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu at the Niger Head Bridge, “and out of resentment the soldiers who staged a road block there released fire on them and in the process, four persons were killed.

Madu, said that no extent of bullying, provocation and killing of their members will make them resort to violence, adding that “the military is doing all sorts of things to push us into violence, but we will never do that because that is what has been setting us free in all the harassment and intimidation we have been going through.”

Following the incident, the ever busy Onitsha Owerri Road, Asaba Onitsha Enugu expressway, were shadows of themselves on Thursday, as people deserted the areas out of fear and uncertainty.

Meanwhile, those who sustained bullet wounds have been transferred to Multi Care Hospital, Onitsha while the remains of the dead were taken to an unknown hospital in the commercial city of Onitsha.

It would be recalled a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Wednesday ordered the Department of State Service (DSS), to immediately release the detained leader of IPOB, Kanu.

The court directed that Kanu, who had been in detention since October 17, be released “unconditionally.”

Ruling on the fundamental rights suit filed by Kanu, the trial judge, Justice Ademola Adeniyi, said there was no basis for the applicant to remain in custody since there was currently no charge pending against him.

The court order came barely 24 hours after a Magistrate’s Court sitting at Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, struck out a one-count charge by the Federal Government against the IPOB leader and Director of Biafran Radio.

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