Just as Umuahia residents started coming out from their hiding places following the morning killings, gunshots broke out around the home of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader Nnamdi Kanu at about 4.30pm, sending people running for their lives.
There was pandemonium with vehicles making abrupt U-turns and horns blaring as people were making frantic efforts to escape from the scene of the shootings.
It could not be ascertained what the heavy shooting was all about but an eyewitness fleeing from the area said that soldiers had broken into the compound of the IPOB leader and blocked all entry points.
Following the killing of two young men by soldiers in the morning, a group of IPOB members had rushed to the scene but were disappointed that the soldiers had driven off with the dead bodies of their victims.
In anger, the agitators marched to the residence of the state Commissioner to Police, Leye Oyebade, who had already packed his luggage and was about to move to the state police command headquarters to hand over to his successor, Anthony Michael.
Oyebade was able to remonstrate with the IPOB members on the need to maintain the peace. Contrary to reports, he was not in any way attacked by the agitators before he left his house to hand over to the new commissioner.
Meanwhile, the headquarters of 82 Division of the Nigerian Army has reacted to the video clip trending on social media depicting troops engaging in gross human rights violation, humiliating and killing a number of young men at a checkpoint in Abia State.
In a statement posted on his whatsapp account, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division Enugu, Col Sagir Musa, said that the military authorities were aware of the trending video clip and “the issue is being investigated with the view to ascertain the source and the actors in the clip”.
We do not condone any act of indiscipline in the conduct of our operations and training exercises,” he said, adding that “any claim of rights violation would be investigated and when confirmed, appropriate disciplinary action would be taken against the erring personnel”.
He pointed out that: “Our Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement are quite clear and any officer or soldier that infringed on any of such directive if found guilty, will face full wrath of the military justice system.”
However, the army spokesman stated that the “82 Division is also aware of the planned misinformation and propaganda arrangement by the secessionists Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB),” adding that: “They (IPOB) intend to churn out prerecorded video clips aimed at discrediting the Nigerian Army, causing disaffection among the citizens of this country”.
According to him, “IPOB will be using bogus, manipulated and photo-shopped photographs as well as video clips. The public should be wary of such mischief, scrutinise and report same to the Nigerian Army or any of security agencies.
“The Division wishes to reassure the public that it is determined to ensuring the safety of lives and properties in its area of operational responsibility, particularly the entire South-east geo-political zone as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”