Abia: Soldiers Leave Streets Today, Police Station Razed

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CONFUSION has continued to rage in Umuahia and Aba, Abia State, as banks, shops and other businesses hurriedly closed for business as the army launched massive crackdown on members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Two people were feared dead.

Also, youths were said to have set the Ariaria police station on fire on Thursday.

This came as the state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, said soldiers would be withdrawn from the streets of Umuahia and Aba today.

Tribune Online gathered that as of 10.23 a.m., major roads in the capital city were empty as people were seen running helter-skelter following gunshots heard within the city centre.

However, eyewitness accounts disclosed that two people suspected to be members of the IPOB were, allegedly shot dead, creating tension in the capital city which enjoyed a relative calm on Wednesday.

According to the eyewitnesses, the two men, dressed in black attire were gunned down at Diamond Bank on Akanu Ibiam Road, 50 metres to the Government House gate and their bodies immediately picked up and dumped inside an army vehicle.

The third victim, said to be a bank customer, was hit on his arm by a stray bullet and was also whisked away.

When Tribune Online visited the scene of the alleged killing, a black cap said to belong to one of the victims was on the ground.

At the Afaraukwu area of Umuahia, where the home of IPOB leader is located, residents have deserted their houses, leaving only IPOB members, who were seen around Kanu’s residence.

There were also unconfirmed reports that troops from the Nigerian Army broke into the Afara-Ukwu, Umuahia country home of the leader of the IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.

About 15 other persons were said to have been arrested during the “invasion” of Kanu’s house by soldiers.

In Aba, residents of the city said gunshots rent the air throughout the night.

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Geoffrey Ogbonna, confirmed the incident, saying the police station had been razed.

It was gathered that police had closed the gate leading into the Central Police station in Umuahia.

Reacting to the incident, a human rights activist and constitutional lawyer, Dr Anthony C.B. Agbazuere, has called on the Federal Government and the Chief of Army Staff to immediately withdraw the troops from the state in the interest of peace and tranquility.

According to him, deployment of soldiers was uncalled for, saying section 217 of the Nigeria Constitution condemned the act.

Residents remain indoors in Aba over renewed crisis

Following a resurgence of crisis in Aba, Abia State, on Thursday, some residents have remained indoors, while others are leaving the city in fear.

In areas around Uratta junction, Ariaria junction, Tonimas junction and flyover Enugu-Port Harcourt highway, some people were seen carrying loads and waiting for vehicles to leave town.

At Bakassi bus stop on the highway, policemen threw tear-gas canisters at some youths who gathered at a nearby street.

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