The leader of the outlawed secessionist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, on Monday accused the police and army of killing three members of the group in Anambra.
He said the deaths occurred during an invasion of one of his lawyers’ residence.
The police, however, said two of its men died in the incident.
Mr Kanu, in a statement he issued through Emma Powerful, a spokesperson , and also displayed on his Twitter handle, on Monday, said the two outfits in a joint operation invaded the home of one Ifeanyi Ejiofor, a lawyer, in Oraifite, Anambra State in the morning ”in a bid to kill him and his family.”
“Sadly three innocent Biafrans were killed by this invading force at his residence.”
Mr Kanu said the incident “comes on the heels of yet another killing of two IPOB family members who were peacefully gathered in Arondizuogu yesterday (Sunday) December 1″.
Mr Kanu said police and other security agencies ”must know that the time is fast approaching when British diplomatic clout and protection may not be enough to shield them from the consequences of their daily crimes against innocent Biafrans”.
“Attacking the home of my lawyer is a step too far and the only effect it will have is to hasten the disintegration of Nigeria,” he said.
“There is a United Nations Mission, US Embassy, British High Commission and other highbrow foreign diplomatic presence in Nigeria who should take note of these ugly developments and convey the same to their home countries.
“It is their responsibility to ensure this wanton brutality, lawlessness and anarchy being engineered by the government against the people of Biafra is duly noted for what it is, an act of war,” Mr Kanu said
He warned that those responsible ”for this deadly assault know they will pay dearly for it”.
But the police in Anambra has denied killing any IPOB member. It rather claimed that two of its men were killed during the incident.
According to the police spokesman in the state, Haruna Mohammed, ”the police went to effect the arrest of Mr Ejiofor who was accused of abduction, assault and malicious damage of property when they were attacked by IPOB members.”
“On the December 2, at about 11:30 a.m., there was a formal complaint against Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor ‘m’ (a member of the proscribed IPOB) in Oraifite on alleged case of abduction, assault occasioning harm and malicious damage to property.
“Following the report, police patrol teams led by the Area Commander, Oraifite, ACP Oliver Abbey mobilised and rushed to the scene in order to arrest the suspect who declined police invitation.
“However, as soon as police arrived at the house, armed men suspected to be IPOB members descended on the Police, set ablaze one Patrol vehicle and attacked them with rifles and machetes.”
“As a result of the attack, two police officers, whose identities are being withheld, were killed by the suspected IPOB members while others were inflicted with machete cuts,” said the spokesman.
Mr Haruna further said that the injured personnel were rushed to the hospital for medical attention ”and are presently receiving treatment.”
“Consequently, the command deployed reinforcements from the State Headquarters comprising of PMF, SARS and Special Anti Cult Units in conjunction with the army/other sister agencies who cordoned off the area in order to fish out the culprits,while a joint patrol is still ongoing in the town to prevent further breakdown of law and order.”
The spokesman noted that some arrests were made during the operation.
“The Commissioner of Police, John Abang, who is on his way to the scene, has vowed to bring perpetrators of this dastardly act to justice.”
PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify both allegations.
Mr Haruna’s statement was however silent on the two persons allegedly killed on Sunday in Arondizuogu, Imo State.
Nigerian security operatives and IPOB have consistently clashed in the South-east in the past since the group was outlawed.
In 2017, during the Operation Python dance, the military invaded Mr Kanu’s country home in Umuahia, Abia State.
After that invasion, Mr Kanu fled the country and has been in self-exile since then.
He resurfaced in Europe when his mother reportedly died in a German hospital in August this year.
The army is presently conducting a military exercise code-named Atilogwu Udo 1(Dance of Peace 1) in the five South-east states of Abia, Ébonyi, Imo, Enugu and Anambra.
The military claimed the exercise was not targeted at the group, but aims to tackle crime in the region. IPOB, which is seeking secession from the Nigerian state, says the exercise is targetted at its members.