Aba, the commercial city of Abia State, was this afternoon thrown into pandemonium as a clash between security agents and demonstrating members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) left at least three Biafra activists dead.
Reports from the commercial city said that soldiers shot and killed three protesters at Mosque by York in the city centre. The development caused panic in the city as many traders hurriedly closed down their businesses and fled for their lives.
Soldiers were said to have descended on the protesters with force after the pro-Biafra agitators had allegedly snatched three guns from soldiers during their clash at Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway.
The picture in this story is extremely graphic. Viewer discretion is advised.
IBOP, which had served noticed of its impending protest today, was said to have attempted to block the Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway when they kicked off their protest this morning.
It was gathered that a combined team of security agents confronted them and succeeded in dispersing them with tear gas.
However, the protesters, after beating a retreat, re-grouped at the city centre where they made bonfires with tyres.
Reports said that it was at this point that the soldiers exerted force in dispersing the protesters, allegedly angered by the loss of their guns.
The combined team of security personnel were said to have mounted heavy security at the city centre and ordered passers-by to raise their hands up before they could pass the security barricade. A source said that the security agents seized and beat up any persons they suspected to an IPOB member and bundled the suspects into their vehicles.
A witness claimed that the casualties were not IPOB members but innocent persons and called on the State Government to take urgent steps to control the security situation in Aba before it snowballs into a riot.
Abia State Police Public Relations Officer, Onyeke Udeviotu, when contacted, confirmed that there was a clash between security agents and protesters in Aba but denied knowledge of any casualties.
News Express recalls that IPOB had at the weekend warned that all schools, markets, shops and other public institutions in Aba should remain closed today as its members would resume their protest to press for the release of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who is being detained and prosecuted by the Federal Government.
The State Government, through announcements on the state-owned Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State, had maintained that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu had banned all forms of public demonstrations in Abia and enjoined the security agents to be alert to foil any form of public demonstrations.