Metro Plus

Biafra Day killings: Our retaliation will be intense —DHQ


The Defence Headquarters yesterday vowed a fierce and overwhelming response to the killing of five soldiers in Abia State during the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)–sponsored Biafra Day on Thursday.
The military blamed IPOB and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) for the attack on Obikabia Junction checkpoint in Obingwa Local Government Area, which resulted in the death of the soldiers.

But the group yesterday said it had no hand in the killings.

Abia State Governor Alex Otti reacted to the development with an emergency security meeting.

The meeting, attended by security chiefs in the state, placed a N25 million bounty on the perpetrators.

The five South East states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo appeared to be struggling yesterday to resume socio-economic activities disrupted by the sit at home protest.

The Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj-Gen. Edward Buba, said in a statement that the terrorists who rode in three tinted Toyota Prado SUVs and others from “built-up areas surrounding the checkpoint, sprang a surprise attack on the checkpoint,” killing their victims.

The troops, he said, had been deployed to “enforce peace in the area and protect the citizens” only to be massed attacked and killed by the terrorists.

Continuing, Buba said: “The armed forces mourn the death of these troops as each and every soldier lost in battle is a terrible loss.

“Meanwhile, investigations are ongoing concerning the attack.

“Overall, it must be reiterated that the lifeline of the terrorist is the people and this situation is no exemption.

“Winning the war without the support of the people is close to impossible.

“The IPOB capitalised on this to perpetrate attacks on the troops. The situation leaves much to be desired.

“Accordingly, it is absolutely imperative that the military retaliate against this dastardly act against troops.

“The military would be fierce in its response.

“We would bring overwhelming military pressure on the group to ensure their total defeat.”

Abia places N25m bounty on killers; to take care of bereaved families

Governor Otti convened an emergency meeting of the state security council yesterday to review the situation, which it described as a serious affront to its resolve to ensure security of life and property.

It consequently placed a N25m bounty on the terrorists and pledged to take care of the bereaved families.

Information and Culture Commissioner Okey Kanu, in a statement on behalf of the government, commiserated with the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Taoreed A. Lagbaja, and the Military High Command on the “unfortunate incident and pray for the peaceful repose of the soul of the gallant soldiers who died on active duty.”

He added:”As a government committed to security, safety and peace within its territory at all times, the Abia State Government considers the event of Thursday, May 30, 2024 a serious affront to its resolve by criminal elements who are hell-bent on returning Abia to the dark days of insecurity and fear amongst citizens, especially in Aba, the economic heartbeat of the state.

“This is more regrettable in the light of the fact that unprecedented investments have been made in the last one year to restore the city’s public infrastructure and reposition it as an attractive investment destination for local and foreign businesses.

“The government will therefore respond appropriately to reassure citizens, investors and friends of Abia across the world that it would be relentless in bringing the full wrath of the law to bear on anyone or group who constitutes the slightest threat to the peace and security of the land, whatever is their motivation.

“To underscore its resolve, the State Government is offering a N25 million (Twenty-five Million Naira) reward to anyone with useful information that could lead to the location and arrest of any of the criminals connected to the unfortunate killings, and the subsequent state of apprehension across the city of Aba and environs.

“The security formations in the state have been directed to treat informants with all the confidentiality required to guarantee their full cooperation and assistance until the criminals are fully apprehended and brought to book.

“Furthermore, the Abia State Government will, in line with its commitment to the welfare of the security operatives working within its territory, take up the responsibility of supporting the families of the slain soldiers, including payment of regular stipends to their spouses, and the education of their children to university level.

“It is the least the state can do for the soldiers who died in brave service to their fatherland.

“The government will also like to specially appreciate the officers and men of the Nigerian Army in the state for maintaining a high sense of professionalism in their response to the very distressing event.

“The State will also encourage our military and security personnel to continue to show restraint, whether at the checkpoints, on patrol, or while engaged in other security duties, even as the government continues to work with all relevant stakeholders, including the security high commands, traditional and community leaders to gather and process all intelligence information which will ultimately lead to the capture of the perpetrators of the heinous crime at Obikabia Junction, and anyone directly or remotely connected to it in any form.

“The Government wishes to use this medium to encourage citizens to go about their legitimate duties without fear as necessary measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of residents and businesses in all parts of Abia.

Read Also: National Assembly halts amendment of CBN Act
“Individuals with useful information on the activities and movement of criminals in their neighbourhood are also advised to share such information with the security agencies as quickly as possible for necessary action.

“Traditional and community leaders in all parts of the state are by this communication advised to set up suitable local intelligence gathering mechanisms in their localities and share whatever new information they get with the security agencies regularly.

“The State Government shall not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law to bear on any traditional or community leader found to be harbouring criminal elements in their domains.

“Lastly, the Abia State Government will continue to give all necessary support to the security agencies in the state for the purpose of protecting lives and property.

“Very importantly, the earlier warning to criminal elements to consider all parts of Abia as a no-go area is still in force. Any attempt to test the will of the Government, as happened on Thursday, May 30, 2024, shall be resisted with every resource at the disposal of the state.”

‘Victim spent five years fighting N/East insurgents’

One of the soldiers killed by the terrorists was yesterday identified as Corporal Lucky Ikechukwu Ikpeama, a native of the state.

Ikpeama, according to sources close to the military, survived five years fighting Islamic insurgents in Borno State only to get killed in his own state.

Another victim, Sergeant Charles Ugochukwu, hailed from Ugwunagbo LGA of the state.

He had served in various internal security operations across the country.

Army, Police in show of force

A combined team of soldiers, policemen and operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Department of State Security (DSS) yesterday patrolled the streets of the state capital, Umuahia and the commercial nerve centre, Aba in an apparent warning to terrorists that they were up to the task.

The security personnel drove round major roads in patrol vans.

Soldiers also cordoned off Ngwa Road by No.1 Port Harcourt Road, Cemetery Road, Ariaria Junction and Uratta by Expressway and Osisioma by Flyover, all in Aba.

Commuters were ordered out of vehicles and made to walk across checkpoints.

Commercial bus drivers were forced to take rural roads, especially at Aro Ngwa junction where the two sides of the Enugu-Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway were closed to vehicles.

Socio-economic activities were yet to pick up fully in the two cities at press time.

IPOB denies involvement in killing of Army personnel in Abia

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) yesterday claimed said it was not responsible for the killing of the five soldiers in Aba.

It blamed, instead, those it called criminals.

It also accused politicians of trying to create chaos in Aba.

Spokesman for the group Emma Powerful said IPOB was “focused on remembering our fallen heroes and heroines, and has no hand in the attack on military personnel.”

It condemned “such criminal activities and urge the authorities to investigate and bring those responsible to justice.”

It commended “Biafrans, friends of Biafra, and lovers of Biafra freedom” for their compliance with the May 30th sit-at-home protest and said the success of the action was “a significant message to IPOB’s adversaries that the illegal detention of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, does not deter the group’s resolve for freedom.”

It described itself as a state actor “fully in control of Biafra territory and pledged never to disappoint Biafrans.”

The group asked South East governors to declare May 30 a public holiday in honour of “ Biafran fallen heroes from henceforth.”

Traders count loses as trucks, petrol tankers are trapped on P-H/Aba Road

Many trucks, petroleum tankers and vehicles were trapped around the Oyigbo axis of the Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway in Rivers State yesterday as a fallout of the Thursday sit at home declared by IPOB in neighbouring South East. .

The road was blocked by security operatives in the aftermath of the killing of five soldiers during the protest.

The long queues left hundreds of passengers stranded.

Many of the trucks are laden with food items or delivery in different parts of the South East.

One of the stranded drivers said: “Heavily armed Army men blocked the Imo River and the border between Abia and Rivers State. So no movement because of what is happening in Abia State. We have been like this since Friday morning.

“We heard that the IPOB people in Abia State are having problems with soldiers, that some soldiers and civilians were killed. That is why we parked here.

“But we are hoping that the security will improve so that they will remove the blockade for us to continue our journey.”

A truck driver identified as Ikechukwu said he slept on the road between Thursday and yesterday.

He said: “We have been here without food. Let the government come to our aid because already there is serious hardship in this country.”

Ebonyi, Anambra residents too

A trader at International Market Abakaliki, James Ike, said that the effects of the one day sit-at-home would be felt for days.

“Imagine a whole market as big as this and others closing for the whole day. The millions if not billions lost if you take the entire state is unquantifiable”, he said.

“There are people who make money by daily pay. Any day this market is closed they don’t have money to feed their families for at least the next one or two days”.

A driver, Chikezie Johnson lamented that transporters lost millions for staying at home that day.

“You can imagine the hundreds of cars that ply different routes across the country all parked doing nothing.

A retired director in Anambra State said the losses incurred by the people during the protest were unquantifiable.

She said: “I thank God we had something to eat in the house, but what about those that don’t have?”

Normalcy gradually returning in Enugu, Owerri

Enugu and Owerri were still reeling from the effects of the sit at home protest yesterday.

Some roads in Enugu were littered with charred remains of vehicles and tricycles following their vandalization by hoodlums trying to enforce the protest.

But vehicular traffic was back as were eatries, malls and artisan workshops.

Some Enugu residents yesterday lamented the negative impact of the frequent sit at home protests on the people and the economy of the state.

A trader at Ogbete Market, Okechukwu Ugwu, said: “In Enugu here, we have stopped this irritating Mondays sit-at-home. I thought we would all continue like that on Thursday, but fear could not allow people to come out.

He said: “IPOB and ESN have lost our support and sympathy. Before now, I used to hail their courage in chasing herdsmen from our farms.

“But these days, what they are doing is evil. They will come to a market where innocent people are doing their businesses and begin to shoot people and burn down shops and vehicles. This is not the IPOB we all knew years ago.

“How can someone explain the killing of innocent soldiers guarding a place? All these have made me stop giving them support of any kind.”

A trader at the Owerri Main Market, who gave her name as Chindinma, said: “I hope this Sit-At-Home does not become a regular thing, or else we will all be out of business.”

Mike Ojo

Fubara aborts Wike’s 10,000 jobs, promises fresh recruitment

Previous article

Bayelsa State Commissioner for Education Uncovers Shocking Child Labor Incident in Rural School

Next article

You may also like


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More in Metro Plus