Gunmen kill soldiers in south-east Nigeria, burn patrol vehicle

At least four soldiers were killed on Thursday when gunmen attacked soldiers in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, Nigeria’s South-east.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the hoodlums, numbering about 15, attacked soldiers at about 8: 00 a.m. at a military checkpoint in Obikabia Junction in the commercial city.

The gunmen were said to be enforcing a sit-at-home order declared by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) across the South-east to mark the Biafra Day which is celebrated annually in the region.

A witness who identified himself simply as Marvelous told this newspaper the hoodlums, who were masked, stormed the junction and opened fire on the soldiers

Marvelous said four soldiers were killed during the attack while one other soldier was seriously injured.

“Four of the soldiers were killed. The other soldier sustained serious gunshot injury. I am not sure he will survive it,” Marvelous said in Pidgin English language.

“The gunmen came in black Highlander (SUV). Even some ordinary people sustained gunshot injuries,” he added.

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Video clips

Some video clips showing the masked gunmen during the attack on the soldiers have been circulating on Facebook and other social media platforms.

In one of the clips, some armed men, dressed in black attire, were seen firing sporadic gunshots around the junction.

A military patrol truck was parked in the area.

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PREMIUM TIMES, from the clip, counted over 10 gunmen who took part in the attack.

Some fear-stricken residents were seen in another clip scampering for safety around the area. The clip showed the gunmen razing the military patrol truck apparently used by the soldiers.

Shortly after the attack, an armed soldier was seen apparently surveying the area to ascertain if the hoodlums had left.

“This army man is the only surviving person here. He was the only person that ran away,” a male voice was heard speaking in the background in the video.

Some youths were seen in another clip carrying a young man who was apparently hit by stray bullets.

The injured man’s clothes had blood stains.

“Does anybody here have a motorcycle?” one of the youths enquired from his colleagues.

The youths would later carry the victim to an undisclosed medical facility.

Army silent

The spokesperson of the 14 Brigade of the Nigeria army in Ohafia, Abia State, Innocent Omale, a lieutenant, did not respond to calls and a text message seeking his comments.

When contacted by PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday afternoon, Jonah Unuakhalu, the spokesperson of the 82 Division of the army, refused to confirm the attack but promised to revert to this reporter with details.

Mr Unuakhalu, a lieutenant colonel, did not respond to subsequent calls seeking his comments, nearly an hour later.


IPOB earlier this month announced that there would be a sit-at-home on 30 May across the South-east to mark the Biafra Day.

Emma Powerful, the IPOB’s spokesperson, in a statement, said the celebration was intended to remember IPOB members who died in “the fight for freedom”.

IPOB is a group seeking to carve out a sovereign state of Biafra from South-east and some parts of the south-south of Nigeria.

However, in a contradictory statement, Simon Ekpa, a pro-Biafra agitator, announced that the sit-at-home would last for three days from 29 to 31 May 2024.

Mr Ekpa, who leads Auto Pilot, a faction of IPOB, said the three-day sit-at-home was necessary to enable “Biafrans to vote for the Liberation of Biafra.”

The agitator, who is based in Finland, asked Igbos and “lovers of South-east” to stay at home on the mentioned days in honour of “Biafran heroes” who died during the Nigerian civil war.

He asked the West African Examination Council to reschedule its Senior School Certificate Examination billed to hold within the time in the South-east.

PREMIUM TIMES reported that security agencies in the South-east have vowed to resist the sit-at-home order imposed by the separatists in the region.

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