On Sunday, confusion trailed the invasion of the Umuahia, Abia State home, southeast of Nigeria, of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu by soldiers.
The soldiers were reported 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 lives in the evening invasion said to have occurred when Kanu was asleep.
But the Nigerian Army said there was no iota of truth to the allegation. The 14 Brigade of the Nigeria Army dismissed the news as “fictitious” and warned members of the public to desist from spreading falsehood. It stated that suspected members of the IPOB attempted to block troops in show of force around the Umuahia axis earlier in the evening.
A statement by Army Assistant Director, Public Relations, 14 Brigade, Major Oyegoke Gbadamosi said: “The attention of 14 Brigade Nigerian Army, has been drawn to fictitious news going round especially on the social media that troops have invaded the home of Nnamdi Kanu and killed 3 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 6.00-6.30pm, today (Sunday).
“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 passerby and a soldier, Corporal Kolawole Mathew.
“The troops fired warning shots in the air and the hoodlooms dispersed. No life was lost.
“Therefore the public are kindly enjoined to disregard the rumours going round and the fictitious photographs of purported victims of attack. Both the soldier and the innocent female passerby have been evacuated to the unit’s Medical Inspection Room and are receiving treatment.
“We would like to use this opportunity to warn mischief makers threatening the peace and security of the country through falsehood such as above.
“Members of the public are please requested to go about their lawful business and report any suspicious activity to the nearest police station or security outfit.”
According to some online media, they reported that the soldiers stormed Kanu’s home in an armoured tank and about three Hilux vans loaded with heavily armed soldiers.
According to an online TV, the soldiers shot sporadically as they approached his father’s compound, causing panic among residents of the area.
The online TV disclosed that the soldiers wanted to gain entry into Kanu’s compound but IPOB members quickly formed a human shield around the compound and resisted them.
Kanu was quoted as saying: “I was sleeping this evening (Sunday) when suddenly I was woken up by the blaring of sirens. Initially, I thought it was the commissioner of police who lives in the neighbourhood that was returning home. But the blaring persisted and was followed by sporadic shooting of guns.
“The soldiers wanted to bulldoze their way into the palace but IPOB members formed a human shield and resisted them. They wanted to break the shield and fired at three persons and wounded others before leaving. Everybody including children were running away in confusion.”
It would be recalled that Kanu’s activities since he was granted bail few months ago have become a source of worry to the federal government to the extent that recently, the attorney general of the federation approached the federal high court for an order to re-arrest him.
Although the move has been condemned by many, the formation of the Biafra Secret Service (BSS) which has been declared illegal by the police is considered as a major affront on the authority of the federal government.
Leader of the Igbo Renaissance, Jude Uwa, on Sunday condemned the attack on Kanu’s residence by soldiers and warned of action that could further “undermine the security of the country.”
© The Guardian