Members of the Hausa/Fulani community in Abia State have called for enhanced security for their members taking refuge in various locations, following days of reported attacks by suspected members of the separatist Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB.
The community also cautioned against violent responses in North.
The head of the community, Idris Bashir, who is also the Chief Imam of Muslims in the South-eastern state, spoke with PREMIUM TIMES Thursday evening from one of the locations where he and his followers are sheltering temporarily in Aba.
Earlier on Thursday, the police spokesperson for Abia State, Geoffrey Ogbona, had confirmed the attacks in which the Hausa community was targeted by IPOB hoodlums. He said the police had been able to restore normalcy and assured Northerners of their safety.
Mr. Bashir told PREMIUM TIMES that about two thousand of his community had been displaced following “two days of attacks.”
Following the attacks, Mr. Bashir said “about 25 persons” sustained various degrees of injuries and “are now being treated in the police clinic and other hospitals.”
“We are now taking refuge in the police stations and (other places not to be disclosed for security reason). The police and the soldiers have really tried their best, They helped protect us,” he said.
But apparently still gripped by fear, the Imam said “the security is not sufficient. We appealing for more protection, more and more security.”
In addition, he lamented the deplorable living conditions in places they are taking refuge.
“We are here with our children and women. There is no healthcare. There is no water. There is a problem with feeding.”
But importantly, Mr. Bashir made an appeal to PREMIUM TIMES to help caution against reprisal attacks in the North.
“We don’t want any form of reprisal against the Igbo living in the North,” he said. “What we just want is protection here and proper living conditions.”
He said his community had suffered massive losses.
Ariaria police station in Aba that had provided refuge for the Hausa community, among other places, was burnt down by suspected IPOB hoodlums Thursday morning.
“Ariaria police station was burnt down, but our people are still in other police stations and other places,” he said.
There has been tension in Abia State since the army commenced its Operation Python Dance 2 on Sunday to apparently to curtail the excesses of militancy in the region.