The police in Rivers State have accused members of the pro-Biafra group, Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB), of hiding under the #EndSARS protests to kill three police officers in the state.
The commissioner of police in Rivers State, Joseph Mukan, who briefed the press on Monday in Port Harcourt, gave the identity of the slain officers as: Sunday Dubon, an inspector attached to anti-kidnapping unit, whose corpse was said to have been burnt; Swawale Ornan, a sergeant attached to 19 Police Mobile Force on Special Duty at Oyigbo, whose corpse was also burnt; and Umunna Uchechukwu, a sergeant with Afam police station, whose legs and hands were cut off before he was burnt to ashes.
Mr Mukan said IPOB invaded Oyigbo local government area on October 21, launched “senseless and mindless attacks on the area command, Oyigbo and Afam police stations, and burnt down the three stations.”
He said, “They also went to the adjoining Eberi-Omuma local government area, where they attacked the Umuebulu police station.
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“In all the attacks, several vehicles were burnt and three policemen were hacked to death and burnt to ashes.”
Mr Mukan said the IPOB members also attempted to burn down Mile One police station the same day, but were repelled by the police.
Four of the IPOB members were killed, while eight of them were arrested during the attack, Mr Mukan said.
The police chief, who paraded the suspects before journalists, said 21 people have been arrested so far in the state.
He began his address to reporters by saying that his heart was heavy because of the attacks on public and private property in the state. He, however, said there was “relative peace” in Oyigbo, which is still under curfew imposed by the Rivers State government.
The Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, on Friday declared one Stanley Mgbere, said to be a leader of IPOB in the state, wanted over the violence in Oyigbo.
The governor announced a N50 million reward to anyone with information that could lead to the arrest and prosecution of Mr Mgbere.
IPOB, which wants an independent Biafra country, has been proscribed by the Nigerian government which labels it a terrorist organisation. The group, however, says it wants to achieve its goal in a peaceful manner and through a referendum.