A protest by the proscribed secessionist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), turned violent in Ebonyi on Monday as suspected members of the group launched an attack on the Central Police Station in Abakaliki, the state capital.

The station, located along the Abakaliki-Enugu Highway, and close to the international market, was set ablaze by persons who claimed they were IPOB members.

They also vandalised and torched cars, tricycles and motorcycles within the vicinity of the station.

IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, had called on his members to embark on a cleanup exercise/protest around major cities in the South East and South-South geo-political zones on Monday.

The exercise was peaceful in Ikwo local government area, where security agents allowed members of the group to move around without any confrontation.

But in Abakaliki, suspected members of the proscribed group launched an attack on the police station around 3 p.m.

They claimed the attack was in retaliation for the killing of some of their members by the police during last week’s disturbances.

According to them, their members were killed in front of the station last week.

Newsmen could not independently verify those claims.

The incident caused pandemonium in the city as residents ran back to their houses for fear of being caught in the crossfire.

Many shops and businesses, especially those at the international market, closed down abruptly.

The governor, David Umahi, was attending a function at the Old Government House when the violence erupted.

On hearing the news, he was said to have left the venue back to the New Government House.

The police commissioner in the state, Philip Maku, confirmed the attack on the station, adding that no casualty had been recorded.

The commissioner also denied that any member of the group was killed in last week’s clashes.

He noted, however, that it was the police that lost one of its police officers who was injured during last week’s disturbances.

“We are the ones being brutalised. One of the two policemen that were wounded last week later died,” he said.

IPOB spokesperson, Emma Powerful, said those who attacked the police station are not members of the group.

“I don’t know who those people are,” he said when contacted for comment.

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