Military Justifies Killing Of Pro-Biafra Protesters | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

Latest News

Military Justifies Killing Of Pro-Biafra Protesters

Nigeria Army
Posted: May 31, 2016 at 3:30 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)


The Nigerian Army, through Col. Sani Usman, deputy director of public relations, on Tuesday justified the killing of pro-Biafra protesters in Asaba, Delta State, and other locations in the South-East during a mass rally to mark “Biafra Day,” in commemoration of the 49th anniversary of the seccession of the former Eastern Region to form the Republic of Biafra in 1967.

The killings on Monday have drawn widespread condemnations and mixed reactions in some quarters but the Army said it was “forced to shoot” at the marchers when they became aggressive, violent and caused panic among law-abiding residents, based on the “rules of engagement.”

In a statement he signed on Tuesday, Usman said, “Due to the widespread panic, tension and apprehension that generated from the activities of the MASSOB and IPOB members, security agencies, which comprised of detachment of Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police, Department of State Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency were compelled to intervene in consonance with constitutional provisions of aid to civil authority where and when such occasion demands.

“The overarching imperative to ensure a reign of peace, security and stability in this circumstance was most staring.

“The nature of this attack involved brazen employment of various types of fire arms and all sorts of crude weapons, volatile cocktail such as acid and dynamites.

“Instructively, troops of 82 Division, Nigerian Army, as the lead agency of the security agents, had to invoke the extant rules of engagement (ROE) to resort to self-defence, protection of the strategic Niger Bridge, prevent re-enforcement of the pro-Biafra members apparently surging ahead from the far side of the strategic Niger Bridge at Onitsha. All these efforts were in order to de-escalate the palpable tension as well as ward off the apparent threats to lives and property in the general area.

“In the aftermath of the fire fight that ensued, many of own troops sustained varying degrees of injury. These injured troops are currently receiving treatment at own medical centre. Similarly, five members of MASSOB/IPOB were killed, eight wounded while nine were arrested for due legal actions.”

The police confirmed reports that pro-Biafra groups attacked law enforcement agents, including policemen, and at least three policemen were killed in Delta State, including two who were drowned in the River Niger.