IPOB, Geoffrey Ogbonna
Pro-Biafra activists, IPOB, wave flags in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, February 28. Pope Francis greeted the activists as indigenous peoples of Biafra during his Angelus address. | Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images

Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters has branded the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, as a “militant terrorist organisation’’ and urged parents to dissuade their wards from joining the group.

This pronouncement comes as tensions rise in the country over a military operation in the South East region of the country where the dominant tribe, the Igbos, have been agitating for the independence of Biafra, a defunct country which broke away from Nigeria in the 60s.

The operation, tagged Python Dance II, has triggered widespread ethnic tension and mass hysteria in the country. Skirmishes have spilled over from the South East to Port Harcourt, Rivers State in the South South and Jos, Plateau State in the North Central.

In a statement, e-mailed to The Trent on Friday, September 15, 2017, Major General John Enenche, the director, Defence Information restated the commitment of the Armed Forces to confront “all security challenges facing the country.’’

The statement also assured of the protection of lives and property in all parts of the country by the military. He said that the IPOB posed security challenge and had been metamorphosing from one stage to another.

“After due professional analysis and recent developments, it has become expedient to notify the general public that the claim by IPOB actors that the organisation is non-violent is not true,” the statement said.

“Hence, the need to bring to public awareness the true and current state of IPOB.

“In this regard, some of their actions, clandestinely and actively, that have been terrorising the general public include

“The formation of a Biafra Secret Service, claimed formation of Biafra National Guard, unauthorised blocking of public access roads and extortion of money from innocent civilians at illegal road blocks.

“Militant possession and use of weapons (stones, molotov cocktails, machetes and broken bottles, among others) on a military patrol on September 10, 2017.

“Physical confrontation of troops by Nnamdi Kanu and other IPOB actors at a checkpoint on September 11, 2017 and also attempt to snatch their rifles. “Attack by IPOB members on a military checkpoint on September 12, 2017, at Isialangwa, where one IPOB actor attempted to snatch a female soldier’s rifle.’’

“From the foregoing, the Armed Forces of Nigeria wish to confirm to the general public that IPOB from all intent, plan and purpose as analysed, is a militant terrorist organisation,’’ the DHQ said.

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