Terrorists suspected to be members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on Monday, June 20, attacked the prominent Izombe Market in the Oguta area of Imo State, Southeast Nigeria.
The terrorists were enforcing an unlawful curfew to protest the continued detention of IPOB founder Nnamdi Kanu.
Kanu is currently standing trial for treasonable felony, unlawful possession of arms, and illegal importation of broadcast equipment at a Federal High Court in Abuja, the country’s capital.
HumAngle learnt that the separatists had warned the market traders not to violate the sit-at-home order by opening for business, but the traders defied the warning.
While several newspapers reported that the terrorists bombed the market, eyewitness accounts and the police accounts contradicted this version of events. Instead, the terrorists had set vehicles conveying travellers on fire, causing road users, passengers, and traders to scamper for safety.
Many of them sustained injuries in the incident.
“IPOB on Monday attacked Izombe Market while enforcing sit-at-home. They attacked vehicles taking people to Owerri. They asked passengers to come down and set the vehicles ablaze. Many people sustained injuries when everything went up in flames,” a witness, who simply identified himself as Tony, told HumAngle.
Micheal Abattam, spokesperson of Imo State Police Command, said reports that terrorists bombed the market were misleading.
“They [IPOB militants] came on motorcycles, saw vehicles loading to Owerri and asked the passengers to come down. They set the vehicles on fire after passengers came down. It was at that point that everybody was running. The police went to the area upon getting the information, but the miscreants had left.”
Declared as a terror group in 2018, IPOB, a separatist organisation, is demanding the creation of an independent state of Biafra in the Old Eastern Region of Nigeria, comprising the current Southeast and South-south regions.
There have been concerns about the violent activities of the non-state actors that have eclipsed communities in the regions.
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