Port Harcourt, Nigeria – The Nigerian army has been accused of killing dozens of residents in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers state, Nigeria, according to multiple residents who spoke with REPORT AFRIQUE.
Multiple residents who spoke to REPORT AFRIQUE claimed that the soldiers sent to restore calm in the area, after the government accused members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) of killing security personnel and burning down a police station, have resorted to shooting indiscriminately resulting in the deaths of dozens of residents.
Open source Pictures and videos on Twitter show victims allegedly shot or killed by the army in Oyigbo.
One of the residents, Mr John Ani said he had to move his family to Eleme, a nearby town, after his tenant, Mr Darlington, was shot and killed by the army.
” Oyigbo is now a war zone. People are being killed, mostly men, including children. The army move from house to house searchig for boys from the age of 13 upwards and take them away.” John Ani said.John Ani, Oyigbo resident talking to REPORT AFRIQUE.
Another resident, Ike Unegbu said soldiers are making indiscriminate arrest and those arrested have not been heard from after they were taken away.
Nkechi Victor, who stays at Afam, in Oyigbo, said her family live in fear and hunger.
A graphic video, posted on Twitter, shows a man conveying a victim allegedly shot by soldiers in the area in a wheelbarrow. Another video shows a dead man in one of the street in Oyigbo allegedly shot and killed by soldiers. There are also pictures showing dead victims allegedly killed by soldiers in the area. These videos and pictures could, however, not be independently verified by our correspondent in Port Harcourt due to the tensed situation in area.
Amnesty International said, via a post made on its Facebook page, that it is receiving information of atrocities committed by the army in Oyigbo. It called on the Nigerian military to exercise restraint and stop the killing of civilians there.
The Rivers state government had ordered the security to take strict actions against members of IPOB in the area before the soldiers were deployed. The state also announced a dusk to dawn curfew in area after the initial post “#Endsars protests” violence allegedly carried out by IPOB that claimed the lives of soldiers and policemen.
Governor Nyesom Wike also pledged the sum of N20,000 each to families of slain soldiers and policemen.
The spokesperson of the army in Rivers state, Charles Ekeocha, said these allegations were unfounded. The Police Public Relations Officer in Rivers state, Mr Nnamdi Omoni, said the police could not confirm any reports of violence by soldiers in the area. Mr Omoni said that the police was aware of the deployment of soldiers to the area in order to restore law and order.
“The state Police Command lost two policemen due to the violence perpetuated by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra.” Mr Omoni said.Nnamdi Omoni, Police PRO, Rivers state command.
Recall that the Nigerian army is also being accused of killing unarmed protesters at a toll gate in Lekki, a rich suburb in Lagos state, during the #EndSARS protest on the October 20, 2020.
Oyigbo Killings: Nigerians React on the Social Media
The news of killing of civilians by soldiers in Oyigbo has attracted reactions from Nigerians on the social media.
Many took to Twitter and Facebook to register their dissatisfaction in the actions of the army in the area.
See some of the reactions below:
The chairman of the local government, Mr Gerald Oforji, while reacting to the reports of killings by the army said the soldiers were deployed to maintain law and order, a view many residents disagree with.
IPOB Accused of Killing Soldiers, Policemen in Oyigbo
In a broadcast on Friday, October 23, 2020, the River State Governor, Nyesom Wike called out IPOB and condemned the alleged killing of policemen and soldiers by the group in Oyigbo area of the state.
“We were all witnesses to yet another orgy of violence and destruction inflicted by IPOB at Oyigbo Local Government Area and some parts of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.“
“This evil, wicked and audacious action resulted in the unnecessary loss of lives, including soldiers and police officers, and the destruction of both public and private properties, police stations, court buildings and business premises.”Nyesom Wike, governor , Rivers state, Nigeria
IPOB members and soldiers clashed again on October 26, necessitating the deployment of troops to the area. Many members of IPOB were also arrested.
Pictures and videos of violence and maimed victims sent to REPORT AFRIQUE are too graphic and go against our ethics policies; Hence, could not be used in this report.