From RAY EJIKEME, Enugu and PAT NNADI, Nsukka
Today’s bloody early morning clash between members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and security agents could have been averted if the security agents had been less abrasive and heavy-handed in their handling of the situation, an eyewitness told AbeyaNews in Enugu.
Several persons were feared killed and several others injured following an early morning clash at Emene, Enugu between security agents and members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
The eyewitness told AbeyaNews that trouble started at about 7.00 am when some police officers stormed an IPOB meeting at Community Secondary School Emene obviously with intent to disrupt the group’s meeting and make arrests.
AbeyaNews gathered that the encounter turned bloody when the IPOB members resisted arrest, saying they had a right to peaceful gathering, and even went ahead to overpower the security agents.
They also reportedly proceeded to sack the nearby Emene police station, an act that was said to have drawn the ire of the security agents who returned in their numbers and simply turned their guns on everyone in the vicinity, IPOB, keke riders et al, in what the eyewitness told AbeyaNews was a feast of deaths and blood.
Indeed, witnesses said the premises of St. Patrick Secondary School was literally flowing with blood as people were shot and killed or wounded by the security agents as they ran from the chaos into the school compound.
Eyewitnesses further said many people who were on their way to 7.00am mass had to run for their lives and those already in the Church had to endure tear gas fumes that covered the whole place.
Although neither spokespersons of Enugu State Police command nor those of IPOB had spoken on the issue as at the time of this report, AbeyaNews learnt that the bloody clash could have been averted if the security agents had not interrupted the IPOB meeting.
“Those boys were only having a meeting and there was nothing wrong with that, I dare say,” an eyewitness remonstrated in a chat with AbeyaNews. “They should simply have allowed them to meet.”
He added: “People meet everyday and who cares what they discuss provided that what they discuss doesn’t manifest in violence and disorder in society. And it shouldn’t matter to us who people say they are; what should matter is how what they do affects society. I am not aware that these people have been unduly antagonistic to society as to want to harm it. They should simply have allowed these people to meet, have their say and disperse and that will close the matter. I have come to know that Nigeria police officers intentionally provoke individuals and groups to violence. I saw it today myself.”
TENSION IN NSUKKA
Meanwhile, tension is equally building in Nsukka metropolis as some members of the secessionist group are said to be hiding in some undisclosed places for fear of being arrested by the security operatives as a backlash of Emene incident.
Though both police and IPOB are yet to give official statement on the incident, some places in Nsukka where IPOB members gather frequently for some interaction were deserted when our reporter visited the areas.