By Emma Amaize and Festus Ahon
ASABA- MEMBERS of the Biafra Independent Movement and Movement for Actualization Sovereign State of Biafra, BIM-MASSOB, allegedly killed two police officers in a clash and threw two other injured policemen into the River Niger at Asaba, capital of Delta State, on Monday.
The groups, which marked the anniversary of their agitation, Monday, purportedly made away with an AK 47 belonging to the police and damaged a police and military patrol vans.
The police, however, mortally wounded four of them and arrested eight persons.
Acting Police Public Relations Officer, Delta State Command, SP Charles Muka, who confirmed the death, said: “The members of the unlawful Independent People of Biafra (IPOB)/MASSOB carried out a violent protest today at Asaba. The command had sequel to rumours of the planned protest proactively deployed men to strategic locations in Asaba.”
“To the chagrin of the Command, the obnoxious irate groups attacked our men and army patrol team at three locations, killed two policemen and injured two others at Cable and Abraka areas and made away with one AK.47 rifle and one smoke riot gunner from the killed and injured policemen.
“The callous group threw two of the injured policemen into the River Niger at Cable, while one was later rescued alive. The unlawful groups also damaged Ibusa Division patrol van and a military patrol van.
“In the ensuing confrontation with the groups, four members of the illegal group were fatally wounded, while eight were arrested. The groups were successfully dispersed and Benin/Onitsha expressway and the town made free for people to move and go about their businesses,” he said.
Muka asserted: “The Command, therefore, advises parents and guardians to warn their children and wards to toe peaceful path and pursue whatever agenda constitutionally.”
“The Command also wants to state that the security agencies will not fold their arms and watch a few persons take laws into their hands and cause mayhem in pursuit of whatever agenda,” he added.
Tension enveloped Asaba and environs, as the anniversary celebration turned bloody with the police chasing the BIM-MASSOB groups round the state capital.
Vanguard learned that trouble started when a team of police officers intercepted the agitators, who gathered at a spot, near a obsolete toll gate in Asaba chanting war songs and attempted to intercept them.
There was commotion as police threw canisters of tear gas to disperse the over 2,000 agitators and they made away with two rifles belonging to the Police at about 5.30 am
A source, who pleaded anonymity, said the agitators engaged the armed policemen in a free for all, which caused stampede as residents of Abraka, within the Asaba metropolis and those traveling along the Asaba/Benin/Onitsha expressway scampered for safety.
The BIM-MASSOB agitators, clad in red black and red attires, took to various streets in Asaba and its environs after police resisted their efforts to march through the Asaba tollgate.
However, the celebration was peaceful at Ibusa in Oshimili North local government area and Ubulu-Uku in Aniocha South, where the presiding Bishop of Jesus the Shepherd Ministry, Dr. A.S. Mogekwu, laid thefoundation of stone of BIM-MASSOB secretariat.
In a swift reaction, the Delta North Zonal Leader of BIM-MASSOB, Mr. Chinedu Anieifeobu, supported by his Commander of Security, Prince Ignatus Adiliajana, who supervised the inauguration of the new secretariat in Ubulu-Uku, and the Delta Central Zonal Leader, Mr. Uju Christian, dissociated BIM-MASSOB from the alleged killing.
They wondered why some agitators under the IPOB became violent and condemned the dangerous twist the agitation had assumed.
Speaking to journalists, the leader of the Delta North Administrator, Mr. Emeka Okafor, said they were celebrating the independent Biafra state.
He said: “We are not at war with security agents and we are not armed, but celebrating Biafra state, we congratulate our members in the struggle and wishes the people of Anioma region happy independence.”
His Oshimili region counterpart, Chief Isaac Onwuamaeze, said; “We want Biafra state, Buhari -led government has failed Nigerian people, we are tired of Nigeria. The way the Fulani people are killing us as if we are animals, calls for worry.”