Members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) yesterday clashed with the Hausa community in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers. Eye witnesses said the clash left many injured on both sides as well as innocent passers by.
Trouble started when the suspected members of IPOB gathered at Timber Junction awaiting other members to join a procession to Aba, Abia State. Thereafter, soldiers rounded up the IPOB members and forcefully dispersed the gathering leaving many IPOB members injured. A confrontation immediately ensued between IPOB members and soldiers and ultimately led to some members venting their anger on the Hausa community in the area,
An eyewitness, Ibiere Tamuno, said that several properties were destroyed during the clash. According to her, the clash began around 1 p.m. and lasted few hours before the intervention of the army, police and other security agencies.
As a result, the Oyigbo section of the Aba-Port Harcourt expressway was shut down with human and vehicular movement restricted, to prevent further escalation.
The Spokesman for 6 Division of Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Col. Aminu Illiyasu, confirmed the clash and added that troops were deployed to restore law and order in the area. “We learnt that some IPOB members disturbed the peace by attacking the Hausa community and threatening to burn down a mosque in Oyibo Local Government Area in Rivers. We are yet to confirm if anyone was injured or killed during the clash but be assured that normalcy is currently being restored to the area. I am still awaiting the full report of the event and as such details are still sketchy at the moment,” he said.
Iliyasu said deployment of troops to the area was unconnected to Operation Python Dance, currently on-going in five states of the Southeast zone.