Unarmed pro-Biafra supporters killed by Nigerian Military

The Nigerian Army was engaged in killing the pro-Biafran community, before the planned commemoration events in Onitsha in the Anambra state last month. Pro-Biafrans, started to call for independence when Nigeria forcefully annexed their lands after the British colonization ended in the 1960s. The Biafran Republic that was then established in 1967, was again annexed by Nigeria, resulting in the civil war that claimed lives of one to three million people.

Nigerian military in the end of May last month, opened fire on groups of Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) supporters and bystanders in three different locations. Country Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, M.K. Ibrahim said, “Opening fire on peaceful IPOB supporters and bystanders who clearly posed no threat to anyone is an outrageous use of unnecessary and excessive force and resulted in multiple deaths and injuries. In one incident one person was shot dead after the authorities burst in on them while they slept.” The exact number of deaths was not verified as Nigerian army took the corpses with them. However, Amnesty collected data shows more than 40 people died, while another 50 were injured.

Many wounds were on the back, showing that those shot were running from this act of indiscriminate shooting. Nigerian army denied opening fire on the indigenous people, citing that it was only done in self-defence. In order to prevent a march to happen, Nigerian army, navy, and police conducted a night operation on 29 and 30 may. The accounts were based on interviews of 32 eyewitnesses conducted by Amnesty International on 1-3 June in Onitsha.

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