- The Army and Police authorities have given two different accounts on the alleged invasion on Sunday night by the military of the Afara Ukwu, Umuahia North Local Council of Abia State country home of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Soldiers were reportedly said to have opened fire on supporters of the pro-Biafra group, which left one person injured.Another unconfirmed account claimed that three persons lost their life in the incident said to have occurred when Kanu was already asleep.
But the Nigerian Army said there was no iota of truth in the allegation. The 14 Brigade of the Nigeria Army dismissed the news as ‘fictitious” and warned the public to desist from spreading falsehood. It stated that suspected members of the group attempted to block troops on show of force around the Umuahia axis earlier in the evening.
A statement by Army Assistant Director, Public Relations, 14 Brigade, Major Oyegoke Gbadamosi, reads: “The attention of 14 Brigade Nigerian Army, has been drawn to the fictitious news going round especially on the social media that troops have invaded the home of Nnamdi Kanu and killed three persons.
“This is far from the truth. Rather, it was a group of suspected IPOB militants that blocked the road against troops of 145 Battalion while on show of force along FMC-Word Bank Road in Umuahia town, Abia State at about 6.00 to 6.30pm. They insisted that the military vehicles would not pass and started pelting the soldiers with stones and broken bottles to the point of injuring an innocent female passer-by and a soldier, Corporal Kolawole Mathew.”
It continued: “The troops fired warning shots in the air and the hoodlums dispersed. No life was lost.“Therefore the public is kindly enjoined to disregard the rumours going round and the fictitious photographs of purported victims of the attack. Both the soldier and the innocent female passer-by have been evacuated to the unit’s Medical Inspection Room and are receiving treatment.”
However, the Commissioner of Police, Leye Oyebade, in a statement issued by command’s Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Geoffery Ogbonna, described the incident as “a clash between the military who claimed they were test-driving their repaired armoured personnel carrier (APC) and members of the IPOB at Afara, the community where the group’s leader resides about 17:30 hours.”
According to the spokesman, “during the clash, a policeman was given a machete cut on his head and back while a soldier on the military APC, attached to FOB Umuahia, was injured in his left wrist and one Mrs. Grace Nwokeukwu of Umuobasi lsiama Afara, Umuahia also had a machete cut on the head.”
He added that “all the victims were taken to Police Clinic in Umuahia for treatment, while the situation has since been brought under control without any loss of life.”