Police station burnt as fresh crisis erupts in Abia
• Group urges end to military expedition
A police station was yesterday set ablaze by hoodlums in Aba, Abia State, as fresh violence erupted in the city over reports of killing of two members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by security operatives.
Sources said two persons were allegedly killed while several others sustained varying degrees of injuries in the riots.However, the mititarisation of the commercial city is already taken toll on the economic and other activities in the area, as residents stay indoors apparently for fear of arrest or being caught in the cross fire. Banks, markets, schools remained closed yesterday in the city.
A source said the riots were caused by the firing of gunshots on some residents who had confronted soldiers supervising the offloading of objects suspected to be weapons by some alleged Hausa traders at the Good Morning market on Ngwa Road.
It was learnt that tempers rose, resulting in attack on security officials and destruction of personal effects by the agitators.The Guardian gathered that the rioters had headed to the Ariaria Road police station and set it on fire after chasing away the policemen on duty before destroying their belongings.
The Public Relations Officer for the state command, Geoffrey Ogbonna, who confirmed the development, said the incident took place around 7.00 a.m.His words: “Our Ariaria police station was set ablaze this morning (yesterday) by suspected IPOB members. I said suspected because hoodlums may have capitalized on the riots this morning to cause mayhem or do something that will create crisis. We have not made any arrests but I can assure you that the situation is under control and we have put measures in place to forestall a repeat of the incident.”He warned troublemakers against spreading rumours that could create unnecessary tension in the state.
Meanwhile, the military has refuted reports of invasion of Umoude community by its officers.Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu, Col. Sagir Musa, said: “Let me firmly reiterate that there is no invasion of any community by the soldiers in Abia State and in the entire south eastern part of Nigeria.
“The rumour is baseless, mischievous and should therefore be disregarded.”Also yesterday, the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) enjoined the Federal Government to bring to an end the operation of Python Dance II in the zone.
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Chino Obiagwu, the group contended that the military was not set up to conduct civilian policing duties but rather to come in when there is territorial aggression against the country.