On 9 February a combined squad of the Nigerian Army and Police surrounded pro-Biafran protesters, first fired teargas at the apparently unarmed crowd, and allegedly fired live rounds at the civilians. There are claims that up to 10 people were killed, with many more injured.
The protest took place at the National High School, Port Harcourt Road, Aba in Abia State. This video shot by Biafra Television shows the crimes of the Nigerian authorities, as they surrounded the protesters, who were praying and singing, before shooting at them.
Viewers’ discretion advised. There are images that viewers may find distressing.
Nigerian authorities have a tendency of making a bad situation worse by their heavy-handed approach. The killing of Mohammed Yusuf in 2009 in police custody turned Boko Haram into the uncontrollable insurgency it is today. In December, Nigerian troops were alleged to have massacred over 300 Shia Muslims in Zaria, Kaduna State.
The violence of the army and the police, if history is anything to go by, is surely an own goal, that is likely to serve as a recruiting tool for the Biafran separatists and increasingly radicalise the movement.
Pro-Biafrans allege that over 1,000 of their members have been killed since the self-styled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was arrested by security agents in October last year. While some analysts suggest this number may be exaggerated, but this video demonstrates the barbarity in which the army and police deal with civil disturbances. One expert said to Naijiant.com that “the authorities, as usual, are shooting whatever moves”.
No one should hold their breath on the killers being brought to justice in Nigerian where impunity reigns supreme.
The IPOB claims that the video has been sent to “human rights agencies, United Nations, European Union, African Union and ICC [International Criminal Court]”.