At least two persons were shot while many were injured on Sunday evening when the supporters of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and soldiers clashed in Umuahia, Abia State.
Though Kanu said the soldiers, loaded in an armoured tank and three Hilux vans shot his supporters when they stormed his home in Afraukwu Umuahia, the Nigerian Army had dismissed the IPOB leader’s claim.
The Nigerian Army said a clash occurred when IPOB members attacked a military convoy and injured a civilian and a soldier.
But narrating the incident to journalists, Kanu said the soldiers shot sporadically as they approached his father’s compound, causing pandemonium among residents.
He said, “I was sleeping this evening (Sunday) when suddenly I was woken up by the blaring of sirens. Initially, I thought it was the Commissioner of Police who lives in the neighbourhood that was returning home. But the blaring persisted and was followed up by sporadic gun shots.
“The soldiers wanted to bulldoze their way into the palace but IPOB members formed a human shield and resisted them. They wanted to break the shield and fired at three persons and wounded others before leaving. Everybody including children was running away in confusion.
“They want to use force and beat us into submission because they have lost the argument but they will fail. They want to trigger war but we won’t oblige them because we are committed to our non- violent philosophy.”
Kanu’s father, the traditional ruler of Afaraukwu Community, HRH Eze Israel Kanu, also described the invasion as “unwarranted and shocking,” adding that his son committed no crime to warrant invasion of his palace.
But the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 14 Brigade, Maj. Oyegoke Gbadamosi, who dismissed these claims, said the army did not shoot any IPOB member dead, as being circulated.
Gbadamosi said members of the public should go about their lawful business and report any suspicious activity to the nearest police station.
He said, “It is far from the truth that troops invaded the home of Nnamdi Kanu and killed three persons. Rather, it was a group of suspected IPOB militants that blocked the road against the troops of 145 Battalion while on a show of force along the FMC-World Bank Road in Umuahia town, Abia State, between 6pm and 6.30pm, today (Sunday). They insisted that the military vehicles would not pass and started pelting the soldiers with stones and broken bottles to the point of injuring an innocent female passerby and a soldier, Corporal Kolawole Mathew.
“The troops fired warning shots in the air and the hoodlums dispersed. No life was lost. Therefore the public are kindly enjoined to disregard the rumours making the rounds and the fictitious photographs of purported victims of attack. Both the soldier and the innocent female passerby have been evacuated to the unit’s Medical Inspection Room and are receiving treatment.”