At least seven people have sustained injuries in a clash between members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and soldiers in Umuahia, Abia state.
There had been reports that some soldiers from the 14 brigade of Nigerian army invaded Kanu’s residence and shot at pro-Biafra agitators.
But the army refuted the claim, saying it was the IPOB supporters that confronted them.
In a statement, Oyegoke Gbadamosi, assistant director, army public relations, said IPOB supporters blocked the road the troops were passing.
“It was a group of suspected IPOB militants that blocked the road against troops of 145 battalion while on show of force along FMC-Word Bank road in Umuahia town, Abia state at about 6.00-6.30pm, today (Sunday),” the statement read.
“They insisted that the military vehicles would not pass and started pelting the soldiers with stones and broken bottles to the point of injuring an innocent female passerby and a soldier, corporal Kolawole Mathew.”
He said the troops were prompted to fire “warning shots in the air” in other to disperse the pro-Biafra agitators, adding that “no life was lost”.
“Therefore the public are kindly enjoined to disregard the rumours going round and the fictitious photographs of purported victims of attack. Both the soldier and the innocent female passerby have been evacuated to the unit’s medical inspection room and are receiving treatment,” the statement read.
But on the contrary, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Kanu’s counsel, accused the army of attempting to take his client’s life.
He said five members of Kanu’s family were “brutally wounded” during the incident, adding that some were also killed – though he did not specify the number.
“Just to alert the world that the Nigeria military personnel under the command of chief of army staff is presently laying a siege on my client (Nnamdi Kanu) country home in Umuahia,” he said in a statement issued shortly after the incident.
“They had continued to shoot sporadically into the air through which assault, about five of his family members were brutally wounded and some unfortunately killed. There is no doubt that the present deployment of troops to the south-east is to haunt for my client and possibly eliminate him.”
This is happening just two days after Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, ordered the deployment of troops in the south-east to stop “violent” secessionist agitations.
The army had announced that a military exercise tagged ‘Operation Python Dance’ would commence in the five south-eastern states from September 15.