The three-week-long pro-Biafra protests turned bloody, yesterday, as the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) killed nine of the protesters and injured 18 in Onitsha, the commercial city of Anambra State, Vanguard reports.
Irked by the stubborn disposition of the pro- Biafra agitators, who blocked the Niger Bridge Head and refused to give way to motorists, the JTF comprising Army, Navy, Police and Civil Defence troops, yesterday afternoon, opened fire at protesting members of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, killing nine people and injuring 18. Five people were killed at Niger Bridge Head while three were killed at Obodoukwu Road. A suya (barbecue meat) seller said to have been hit by a stray bullet died instantly. The protesters were having a peaceful procession across South East states and had vowed to continue their blockage of the bridge for three days until detained Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu is released.
Miscreants, on hearing that some people had been shot dead by the JTF, started another protest, marched to the Central mosque near Onitsha Main Market and set it ablaze. A Hilux pick-up van with Federal Government number plate was also burnt when the JTF held motorists and commuters hostage at Upper Iweka with sporadic shootings that had never been witnessed before in Onitsha.
How ever the police have denied opening fire on the protesters, they said even though two of their men were killed, they didn’t kill anyone.
“We did not fire a shot at anybody and even when our men were felled, we still did not retaliate,” he said.Ali Okechukwu, The Public Relations Officer in Onitsha said.