LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – One person was reportedly killed and at least 11 others injured as soldiers and riot policemen clashed with hundreds of Biafran protesters in Aba, the industrial hub of Nigeria’s southeastern region in Abia state, according to eyewitness accounts.
“The protest in Aba turned violent when soldiers drawn from 144 Battalion of the Nigerian Army and some riot policemen attempted to stop the rally. There was a hot exchange of words, which led to security agents opening fire and firing teargas. In the end, one protester died while 11 others were injured,” David Agbim, a trader in the sprawling commercial city, told Anadolu Agency by phone.
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) confirmed the violence on its twitter page Monday, condemning what it called “provocative, unlawful and unrepentant clampdown on peaceful protesters”.
Neither the army nor the police have spoken about the incident.
Tagged the “mother of all rallies”, the protest called for the immediate release of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) who is being detained for seeking a separate homeland for the ethnic Igbo people of southeast region and for allegedly inciting violence against peoples of other ethnic groups.
Kanu, a champion of the Biafra agitation quashed in the country’s civil war of 1967, has been in detention since October for offenses ranging from treasonable felony to running an unlawful organization.
The Nigerian government has refused to respect two bails earlier granted to Kanu, with officials claiming he had yet to meet the bail conditions and for fear he could slip out of the country.
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