Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Nigeria Army yesterday said it arrested six members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) over alleged obstruction of troop movement.
It denied firing gunshots on traders, who were shouting anti-military songs.
A statement issued Saturday said obstruction of troop movement by the traders forced it to fire warning shots.
“The Division wishes to state that although there was an incident involving 144 Battalion patrol team with some traders at Asa – Nnentu spare parts market in Ugwunagbo Local Government Area of Abia State, at no time was anybody shot at, wounded or killed as lopsidedly and therefore wrongly reported.
“However, six members of proscribed independent People of Biafra (IPOB) were arrested and handed over to the Nigerian Police Abia State Command”, a statement signed by Col Sagir Musa, Deputy Director, Public Relations, 82 Division, Nigerian Army, said.
The army statement said “troops of the Battalion on exercise EGWU EKE 111 were alerted on the massive presence of some youths allegedly disrupting commercial activities and pasting posters with the inscription that ‘there will be no elections in Abia State and entire Biafra land, Support Biafran Referendum, Vote for Biafra, Vote for total freedom from slavery’, among others which were unusually widely pasted on private shops around Aloaji general area.
“Consequently, as a professionally responsive soldiers, the team moved to the area to ensure peace, security and no person was to be harassed or molested by miscreants or violent secessionist agitators.
“Unfortunately, some of the misguided traders and hoodlums loitering around started chanting anti soldiers commentaries with some of them boldly obstructing troops’ movements. This situation, necessarily, in the circumstance, caused two of the personnel to fire a warning shot to disperse the surging crowd.
“Since that day the situation has been calm and the outlawed IPOB posters have been removed. People are going about their normal businesses unhindered”.