15 September 2017
…Kanu’s whereabouts unknown
By CHUKWUDERA EZE
Soldiers involved in the Operation Python Dance II Thursday evening invaded the family house of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, at Afaraukwu, Umuahia, ransacked every part of the house and desecrated the palace of his father, the traditional ruler, while they allegedly killed 22 of his members and arrested 18 others.
They were said to have shot their way through the entrance to gain entry into the highly secured and fenced compound having dislodged the human barricade that is always present at the gate and house of the IPOB leader.
According to the IPOB leader’s younger brother, Emmanuel, soldiers numbering over 150 and some mobile policemen stormed their residence at about 5:30 p.m., condoned off their father’s palace and shot sporadically for over one hour. After breaking into the compound, the troops again opened fire on whoever was on sight, he claimed.
Emmanuel said when the shooting was over, 22 IPOB and family members including the family dog were dead.
He alleged that the soldiers were specifically detailed to kill the IPOB leader. “You recall that Nnamdi Kanu had told the world that the Nigerian government is plotting to kill him on September 15, but they struck a day before their planned date. But we thank God they did not succeed and will never succeed.”
He said after shooting and killing the IPOB members, the soldiers in company of mobile policemen desecrated their father’s palace by ransacking the place but he did not say if they took away anything.
In a report by Daily Sun, it was observed that between the time mentioned above, heavy shooting was heard coming from Afara area of Umuahia, the state capital, which forced residents to run for safety.
A statement by Mr. Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, accused the Nigerian Army of declaring war on Mr. Kanu and “innocent, unarmed and defenceless” supporters of IPOB.
“The Military has declared war on the innocent, unarmed and defenceless civilians. Sporadic shooting is going on in the premises of Nnamdi Kanu now. The situation is serious. My client’s whereabouts has remained unknown. His entire house has been shattered with bullets and missiles.
“The soldiers had just forcefully gained entrance into his house after shooting for about 40 minutes. His entrance gate was broken and forced open. Their mission is still unknown as every person seen in his house has surrendered, including his aged parents. We will avail the world with the pictures of these dastardly acts,” Mr. Ejiofor said.
The lawyer called on supporters of Biafra to remain calm in the face of what he described as “unprovoked killings.”
“In the face of this unprovoked killings, torture, abduction and malicious destruction of property, I still appeal for calm from IPOB members. Just be assured that the entire world is watching. Do not take up arms, continue to conduct yourselves in the most civilized manner you are well known for,” Mr. Ejiofor said.
Unconfirmed report has it that the 70-year-old father of the IPOB leader who is also the traditional ruler of Afara Ukwu, Eze Isaac Okwu Kanu, was allegedly whisked away by troops.
When contacted, the deputy director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division, Enugu, Col. Sagir Musa denied knowledge of the invasion. “I’m on the road, coming from monitoring conducts of our troops, so, I cannot confirm whether the allegation is true or not.”
However, a high ranking officer in 82 Division, who declined to be named because he was not authorised to speak, dismissed reports that troops invaded Kanu’s father’s home.
The officer reiterated that the only contact the military had with Kanu was through his father, at a parley with monarchs on Wednesday.
“Look, his father was quite frail. The traditional ruler I saw that day, if you dare touch him, he may likely collapse. Even when he got up to speak, he had to be supported. So, where did this story of arrest come from
“Besides, we did not go to their house yesterday. That’s not true. At the Wednesday meeting which was attended by 300 others, we only told the father to produce his son and, in the presence of his fellow monarchs, he agreed. But, as I speak with you, he has not complied,” the source said.