Suspected members of the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) have thrown two policemen into River Niger and killed two other officers in Delta state.
A police officer, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that the protesters attacked some officers at the bridge, overpowered two of them, before throwing them into the river.
“We have been able to retrieve one of them from the river. He was brought out in an unconscious mood and rushed to the hospital, however, the second victim is still missing,” he said.
Uche Okelue, a witness, said the fracas broke out after a police team threw teargas at the protesters who were demanding for the independence of Biafra.
“The police used teargas on the MASSOB people as they were protesting along Anwai Road this morning, so the people got angry and attacked the policemen with knives and broken bottles,” he said.
“They caught one policeman, beat him up before stabbing him to death; it was a fierce confrontation as everyone ran in different directions.”
The protesters were said to have assembled along Mammy Market Junction on Nnebisi Road in Asaba, Anwai Road, still in Asaba, and around the River Niger bridge.
A witness said some persons, including policemen, who sustained injuries in the fracas, were taken to the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, a claim that was corroborated by a nurse in the hospital.
Ben Onwordi, another witness, said many people sustained injuries in the clash at Nnebisi Road.
“As the group were protesting, the police patrol vehicle came behind them and tried to disperse them but the MASSOB people resisted and in the process they clashed and many people were injured,” he said.
“The MASSOB people damaged the police patrol vehicle, vandalising the windscreen and doors before all of them fled in different directions.”
When contacted, Charles Mouka, a police spokesman in Delta, said he was still monitoring the situation.
“We are still waiting for information on the incident. As I speak to you now, we are in the field, so I cannot say anything for now,” Mouka said.
Mouka later confirmed the incidents, saying two policemen were killed.
Meanwhile, the police have announced the arrest of 17 MASSOB members in Imo, for holding a road show in commemoration of 49th anniversary of Biafra.
Andrew Enwerem, police public relations officer in the state, confirmed the arrests, saying they would soon be prosecuted.
Okechukwu Nwogu, a leader of MASSOB, said it was regrettable that the police arrested members of the group who were on a peaceful march.
“What Nigeria government is doing to us is very unfair; MASSOB is a non-violent group moving without arms in remembrance of our history,” he said.
Nwogu called on Igbo leaders to come out and speak for the people whom he alleged were being unjustly treated by security forces.
Earlier, Canice Anojuru, spokesman for MASSOB in Owerri zone, said the group decided to hold the roadshow to awaken the consciousness of the people on Biafra.
Anojuru said the road show was to draw the attention of international community to the plight of Biafrans.
He added that the group had achieved a lot despite obvious challenges.
Credit: The Cable