The proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra has declared 40 of its members missing after a clash with security operatives in Anambra State on Thursday evening.
IPOB’s Media and Public Secretary, Emma Powerful, made this known in a statement he issued in Awka, the Anambra State capital on Friday.
He said a combined team of police and army attacked its members, who were returning from a burial ceremony at about 5.30pm on Thursday at Nnewi, adding that after the scuffle, 40 of its members got missing.
While calling for the immediate release of such members, the group warned that it would not tolerate the unprovoked molestation of its members by security operatives.
The statement read in part, “IPOB and its leadership worldwide once again wish to draw the attention of the general public and the world at large to the dangerous attacks and arrest of IPOB members in Anambra State last night (Thursday). They went for the burial of an IPOB member who was among those killed last year during the Operation Python Dance II in Umuahia, Abia State.
“This barbaric attack by a combined team of Fulani-dominated Nigerian Army and Nigeria Police happened at Nnewi when IPOB family members who went for a burial of one of our IPOB family members, Odika Esieme Chukwuma, from Igbo Ukwu in Anambra State.
“He belonged to the Obosi Zone of IPOB. After the burial, as our people were returning from the village of the deceased around 5.30 pm and on reaching St Mary’s Catholic Church, where they were supposed to disperse to their various homes, they were accosted by a team of security agents and without any provocation, they began shooting at our people.
“In the ensuing chaos, some people fell down and the buses they were travelling in climbed over some of them. Many were injured, resulting from gunshots from the army and police. Many more were taken away by the army and police to unknown destinations. Some people had their cars seized, others with motorcycles had them taken away from them too.”
The group said its legal team had gone round police stations in the state to effect the release of its members, but could not locate any of such members.
It added, “We are putting the world on notice that since this unwarranted and unprovoked attack and abduction of IPOB members coming back from a burial at Igbo Ugwu, our legal team has not located or ascertained the whereabouts of about 40 of our members, who were among those attacked along the Nnewi Ichii Road in Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra State.”
Meanwhile, the Anambra Police Command on Friday warned the people in the state to stop associating with IPOB members or face arrest.
It reminded the people that the Biafra group remained a proscribed and an outlawed organisation.
The command said it had arrested four members of the outlawed group, according to a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Nkeiruka Nwode. The statement read in part, “The command today (Friday) arrested four members of the group, while other members of the proscribed group fled to unknown destinations.
“The arrested persons confessed to being members of IPOB and will be charged to court for prosecution.
“The following exhibits were recovered from the suspects: 14 Biafran flags, metal gong, one small bell, one helmet, motorcycle, Delica shuttle bus, Suzuki bus, and a Nokia phone.”