By Segun Adeyemi
Fifteen members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, are feared dead as soldiers laid siege to the Afaraukwu country home of the group’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
On Sunday evening, the soldiers had a clash with the IPOB members.
The return of the soldiers with about 10 armoured personnel carriers and seven Hilux vans caused panic in the area, forcing shop owners to close immediately.
On Tuesday, truckloads of IPOB members headed for Afaraukwu apparently to show solidarity to Mr Kanu.
Some members of the group moving into Umuahia were allegedly confronted at Isiala-Ngwa junction on Tuesday afternoon by soldiers. Some of the trucks conveying IPOB members waving the Biafra flags were seen on the dilapidated Enugu-Port Harcourt highway on their way to Abia State.
It was learnt that at least 10 trucks were burnt with over 15 dead bodies lying on the Aba-Port Harcourt highway on Tuesday evening.
It was learnt that the majority of those who died were either killed by bullets allegedly fired by soldiers or hit by other objects while trying to escape.
A source disclosed how the trouble began: “On getting to Isiala Ngwa junction after Aba, they encountered an army check point which refused to allow them continue in their movement. This sparked off a quarrel as many other truckloads joined them. During the ensuing confrontation, bullets began to go up, especially when the IPOB members attempted to force their way to Umuahia.
“At the checkpoint so many people were injured, some received head cuts, some were arrested and there were some who also lost their lives.”
Information about the incident which spread to Aba, Obigbo, Port Harcourt in River State had infuriated members of the IPOB who poured into the streets and started destroying things and attacking security agents, including policemen on duty.
A source said he was searched at many locations between Bayelsa and Aba. “I saw dead bodies on the way and I thank God I did not run into the crisis. I saw bonfires made here and there and trailers that were set on fire.”
A source also said that most places in Obigbo in Rivers State were vacated after soldiers stormed the area in search of IPOB boys who blocked major roads in protest against the killing of their members at the Isiala Ngwa junction.
A meeting scheduled to hold on Friday by governors of the south-east zone to discuss issues relating to the Biafra agitation may no longer hold as Kanu has opted out. It was learnt that Ebonyi State Governor and Chairman of South-east Governors’ Forum, Dave Umahi, had called the meeting as a follow-up to the one held in Enugu on August 30.