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Fear Grips Abia Community Over Threat By Nigerian Army

Residents Fear a Reprisal To Avenge The Killing Of 5 soldiers

By Ebere Inyama

(Abia) Palpable fear has gripped the residents of Obingwa LGA (County) of Abia state following the announcement by the Nigerian army that it will avenge the killing of 5 of its personnel who were shot dead by unidentified gunmen on Thursday May 30, 2024.

The soldiers were reportedly killed on May 30 at Obikabia junction in Obingwa LGA (County) of Abia state located in the southeastern part of Nigeria by gunmen enforcing the sit-at-home directive of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). 

Also killed during the attack were six civilians who were hit by stray bullets when the terrorists, moving in three-tinted Prado Toyota SUVs sprang a surprise attack on the checkpoint, according to a statement by the Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba.

A resident of Ohanze community in Obingwa LGA who identified himself as Jonathan Okoro told TruthNigeria that he is afraid that the military might carry out reprisal attacks on the residents of Obingwa Local Governance Area (County).

“Based on the situation at hand, I will relocate my family from Ohanze for a while until normalcy returns to this area. I am scared that the Nigerian soldiers might make good their threat and when they do, only God knows the number of people that will die in the proposed reprisal attack and the number of houses that will be burnt,” he said.

Nigerian Army Vows To Avenge The Killing Of 5 Soldiers At Obingwa LGA

In a statement on Friday 31st May, 2024, the director of defence media operations for the Nigerian army, Edward Buba, accused the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) of carrying out the attack and said the military will retaliate.

“Troops of OP UDO KA deployed at Obikabia Junction Checkpoint in Obingwa Local Government Areas adjourning Aba metropolis in Abia State were attacked and sadly killed by terrorists of IPOB/ESN,

“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, the statement read.

Southeast Governors Condemn Killing Of Soldiers In Abia

Addressing newsmen in Owerri, Imo State capital, on Thursday, May 30, 2024, Chairman of the Forum, and Imo State Governor, Mr. Hope Uzodimma, described the attack as “unfortunate”.

“On behalf of my brother governors in the Southeast Governors’ Forum, I condemn that incident and loss of the lives of soldiers who were on their duty posts.

 “We here in the Southeast will ensure that we leave no stone unturned to ensure peace needed for development in the region.

 “We are after the perpetrators. Those who think we shouldn’t live should not live,” he said.

Abia Government Places N25 million Bounty On Soldiers’ Killers

Meanwhile, the Abia State Government has offered a reward of N25 million naira ($17, 361) to anyone who provides the authorities with useful information that leads to the arrest of the killers of the 5 soldiers.

In a statement on Friday,  May 31, 2024, by the Abia State Commissioner for Information, Prince Okey Kanu, the state government condemned the attack and placed a bounty on the soldiers’ killers.

Sit-At-Home Order Was Issued By The IPOB Central Command

Last week, IPOB declared May 30 as a sit-at-home in the south-east to honor men and women of Igbo descent who died in the civil war between 1967 and 1970.

The sit-at-home order was a longstanding strike which paralyzed commercial and economic activities in parts of Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia and Ebonyi States as banks, schools, markets, motor parks, fuel stations and other public places were closed for business on Thursday, 30th May.

IPOB accuses politicians of masterminding the killing of 5 soldiers in Abia

In a statement on Friday, May 31, 2024, the spokesperson of IPOB, Mr. Emma Powerful, distanced its members from the killing of soldiers in Abia state, alleging  the killings were a false flag attack but without giving evidence.

 “We condemn the attack on military on duty in Aba, we are not involved because sit-at-home was because of our fallen heroes and heroines and time of mourning and not to attack anybody in respect of that; therefore, anybody mentioning IPOB as responsible for the attack in Aba is under the control of something.

“Those who were used to attack military on duty are criminals, not IPOB; we are much more engaged with sit-at-home to remember our fallen heroes and heroines who died during the genocidal war against Biafrans and Ndigbo, according to the statement.

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had in December, 2020, recruited hundreds of youths in the southeastern part of Nigeria, named them the Eastern Security Network (ESN) and commissioned them to defend the territories of the five south east states namely, Enugu, Imo, Abia, Anambra and Ebonyi against attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen.

Speaking during the inauguration of the ESN in the southeast, the leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Namdi Kanu said the ESN was established to defend the people of the Eastern Region from terrorists and bandits allegedly trooping in from the North.

“The sole aim of this newly formed Security outfit known as Eastern Security Network (ESN), is to halt every criminal activity and terrorists attack in Biafraland.” Kanu said.

Earlier in January, 2018, ESN and its parent body, IPOB was proscribed by the federal government of Nigeria and tagged as a terrorist organisation, a decision that was faulted by the government of the United States of America.

Ebere Inyama is a conflict reporter for TruthNigeria

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