A protestor gestures as he takes part in a demonstration in Durban, South Africa, on May 30, 2019 during a Freedom March for Biafra held worldwide and organised by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to mark the anniversary of the unilateral declaration of independence in 1967 that sparked a brutal 30-month civil war in Nigeria. (Photo AFP)

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has denied speculations that they are the marauding ‘unknown gunmen’ committing violent crimes.

In a statement by IPOB spokesperson Emma Powerful to reporters on Thursday, the separatist group also denied the claim by security forces that it has so far murdered 128 security personnel in Imo.

Powerful noted that the statement by the security chiefs in the state is not only fabricated but ridiculous and untenable. ‘How could IPOB that is not armed be able to kill as many as 128 security personnel in one state. What an illogical and ridiculous claim,’ he said.

‘This is nothing but one of the antics of our oppressors to tarnish our global reputation and whip up public sympathy. They also want to use it as a smoke screen to justify their further crackdown on IPOB and its members,’ Powerful claimed.

He continued: ‘It will be necessary again to clarify that IPOB is not, and should not be taken for “unknown gunmen” that have been reportedly having issues with security agencies in parts of the country especially the defunct Eastern Nigeria. IPOB should not be held responsible for the activities of a group not commissioned by us.


‘Importantly, the Eastern Security Network set up in December 2020 has no relationship whatsoever with the unknown gunmen. ESN was a child of circumstance established to resist the Killer herdsmen rampaging our communities. ESN operatives are in the forests where they are keeping their appointments with those invading our ancestral land.

‘We, therefore, wish to tell the world that neither IPOB nor ESN is involved in any attack against security personnel in Imo or any part of the country. The Nigerian Army and other security agencies are only desperately looking for how to incriminate IPOB and ESN to justify their continued extra-judicial killings of our members,’ Powerful claimed.

The group restated that IPOB did not kill any security personnel in Imo or any state, stating: ‘IPOB since inception, has remained a peaceful movement with the sole mandate of restoring Biafra. We have not changed our non-violent philosophy for the restoration of Biafra.

‘If for any reason we need to change our peaceful approach, we shall make same public but for now we have not gone into arms struggle, and don’t intend to.

‘The world should prevail on the Nigeria security agencies to stop the ongoing house to house abductions of innocent youths in Biafra land who they label unknown gunmen and later kill without trial. This atrocity must stop.’

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