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Sit-at-home: gunmen kill soldiers in Abia, burn patrol vehicle

NO fewer than four soldiers were killed on Thursday, May 30,  when gunmen attacked a military checkpoint in Obikabia Junction in Aba, Abia state, according to a Premium Times report.

The report said about 15 hoodlums launched an attack on the soldiers at about 8:00 a.m. while allegedly enforcing a sit-at-home order declared by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) across the South-East states.

The ICIR reports that the group had in April and early May said there would be a sit-at-home in the South-East geo-political zone on May 30.  

On Wednesday, May 22, the IPOB warned the West African Examination Council and the authorities of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka to shift their respective examinations scheduled for Thursday while insisting that the day was to celebrate its fallen heroes during the civil war between 1967 and 1970.

The pro-Biafran group, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Emma Powerful, said the remembrance of Biafra day remained imperative, and no government or security agency had the authority to harass any innocent person during the event.

The group noted that the warning became necessary because the movement of persons and vehicles would not be allowed on that day, except for those on essential or emergency services such as health workers, ambulances, fire service, filling stations and hospitals.

While enforcing the sit-at-home, a witness who identified himself simply as Marvelous told Premium Times that some masked assailants stormed the junction and opened fire on the soldiers.

Marvelous added that four soldiers were killed during the attack while one other was seriously injured.

“Four of the soldiers were killed. The other soldier sustained a serious gunshot injury. I am not sure he will survive it,” Marvelous said in Pidgin English language.

“The gunmen came in a black Highlander (SUV). Even some civilians sustained gunshot injuries,” he added.

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In another viral video seen by The ICIR, some armed men set a military vehicle on fire, and gunshots could be heard. 

In several other videos posted, The ICIR observed that many streets, shops and roads were deserted in the region.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army hasn’t officially commented on the reported attacks on its personnel by the gunmen. 

Likewise, when The ICIR called the Director of Defence Information at the Defence Headquarters, Tukur Gusau, his line was unreachable, and SMS messages sent to him were not replied to as of the time of filing this report.




     

     

    The ICIR reports that the Nigerian Army recently lost 17 of its men in Otuama, Delta State, to communal clashes.

    The deaths are in addition to losses the Army had suffered in different parts of the country due to insecurity that has bedevilled the nation for over a decade.

    The South-East, notorious for IPOB and other criminal activities, has seen a lull in insecurity under the President Bola Tinubu-led government.

    It is one of Nigeria’s six geo-political zones hounded by armed non-state actors.

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    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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