© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Abia Police arrests 51 suspected IPOB members in Umuahia
Abia State Police Command on Wednesday arrested 51 persons allegedly suspected to be members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB) operating as members of a “Judaism” sect, in Umuahia.
The Command’s Public Relations Officer in the state, Geoffrey Ogbonna in a phone interview with The ICIR confirmed that the command arrested 41 men and 10 women of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Umuahia, who were in possession of Israeli and Biafra insignia as they embarked on a ten million march protest.
“I can confirm to you that 51 suspects were arrested in Umuahia today for their association to a proscribed group,” he said.
“Their activities halted commercial activities and been a group that is outlawed the security agencies had to step in to restore law and order,” he stated
The suspects held a procession on major streets in Umuahia, carrying placards with different inscriptions written in Jewish Language.
Security peratives were said to have started firing teargas canisters to disperse the protesters and this resulted in chaos in the area as traders and passersby ran for safety.
The development caused a stampede at Isigate Market as traders, shop owners, passers-by and motorists ran in different directions for safety.
The suspects, who were dressed in religious white attires with small caps, similar to those of the Jews, began the procession from Afaraukwu community, where the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, hails from but were dispersed at Isigate.
Some items recovered from the suspects included two motorcycles, Biafran identity cards, one Biafran magazine, one Biafran National Anthem booklet and a Biafran flag.
In November, the ICIR reported a similar arrest was conducted in Anambra state where 43 persons suspected to be affiliated with IPOB were arrested but only 33 of the arrested persons were paraded by the police.
The Police spokesperson advised residents to shun actions that could be perceived by security agencies as “constituting a breach of the public peace during this period’’.