“As soon as police arrived the scene, the rampaging IPOB members descended on the police, set ablaze one patrol vehicle and attacked them with machetes and stones.”
Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The Anambra State Police Command, yesterday, said it has arrested 34 members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for allegedly killing an Inspector, injuring a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and other policemen as well as allegedly setting ablaze a police patrol vehicle in Nnewi.
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The police also accused IPOB members of snatching two AK47 rifles and a pistol from the slain officer.
The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Mr. Haruna Mohammed, a Superintendent of Police, said the Anti-riot Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), EOD and Special Anti-Cult Unit Personnel and conventional policemen were deployed to Nnewi town and environs to maintain law and order and prevent destruction of lives and property but were attacked by IPOB members.
In a swift reaction, however, IPOB yesterday denied the allegations leveled against it by the police.
Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful, while reacting to the allegations, said that after the peaceful march in the streets of Nnewi in commemoration of the reappearance of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, no IPOB member was arrested as allegedly claimed by the police.
The statement by the police read in part: “On Friday at about 11:55 am, there was intelligence report that members of the proscribed IPOB were sighted gathering in their hundreds near Teaching Hospital, Owerri Road, Nnewi with intent to cause a breach of the Public Peace.
“Following the report, Police Patrol teams led by the Area Commander, Nnewi, ACP Nnanna Ama mobilised and rushed to the scene in order to disperse and prevent them from causing a breakdown of law and order.
“However, as soon as police arrived the scene, the rampaging IPOB members descended on the police, set ablaze one patrol vehicle and attacked them with machetes and stones. They also marched towards the Agbaedo Market shouting “No Election without Referendum”.
“As a result of the attack, the DPO, CPS, Nnewi Division, CSP Babalola Adewuyi; ASP Micheal Duru attached to Area Command, Nnewi and Inspector Akinbami Olaniyi attached to CPS Nnewi were inflicted with machete cuts. The injured personnel were rushed to the hospital for medical attention. The Inspector was certified dead by a medical doctor while the DPO and the ASP are presently receiving treatment”.
The PPRO said the Police Joint Team had commenced search operations for the recovery of two AK47 rifles and one Beretta Pistol with ammunition snatched from the slain Police Inspector and Police Officers wounded by IPOB members.
Powerful, however, said: “After hiding a policeman in the sewer, the Anambra State Police Command had the temerity to lie by claiming that IPOB killed a police officer when the said officer was hiding inside the gutter. It was the police that raced to the venue of a peaceful march uninvited and as usual started shooting and attacking IPOB family members who were on a peaceful rally in commemoration of our leader’s reappearance in Jerusalem.
“The pictures accompanying this brief statement show clearly that the stage managed fake death of this police officer never occurred. IPOB did not snatch any police rifle of any sort because we are not violent organisation.
“If the police ever arrested any person as they are claiming, it is only because they are used to kidnapping people and picking them up without trial in the hope of extorting money from poor families. We are pleased to report that no family member of IPOB that participated in the peaceful protest is missing. The police should release innocent citizens they rounded up, if at all they have some people in their custody as they claimed.”