International human rights organisation, Amnesty International, has released a damning report accusing Nigeria’s Army of shooting at unarmed pro-Biafran protesters during the May 30th Heroes Day march in Onitsha, Anambra state.
According to the report by AI, investigations show that the security force unduly shot at members of the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) in three different locations in Onitsha.
The director of Amnesty International Nigeria, MK 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 These shootings, some of which may amount to extra judicial executions, must be urgently and independently investigated and anyone suspected of criminal responsibility must be brought to justice.”
The number of persons that died from the shooting is unclear due to the fact that the army took away corpses of the dead, and the injured too, according to the report.
AI said it visited several hospital and mortuaries and confirmed that at least 17 people were killed and about 50 injured.
“The real number is likely to be higher. Some of the dead and injured IPOB supporters seen were shot in the back, an indication that they were fleeing the scene when they were shot.”
An eyewitness, a 32 year-old hair dresser told AI, “At about midnight we heard someone banging the door. We refused to open the door but they forced the door open and started throwing teargas. They also started shooting inside the compound. People were running to escape. I saw one guy shot in the stomach. He fell down but the teargas could not allow people to help him. I did not know what happened to the guy as I escaped and ran away.”
While another informed AI that, “I stood about two poles [approximately 100 metres] away from where the men were being shot and killed. I couldn’t quite hear what they were asking the boys, but I saw one boy trying to answer a question. He immediately raised his hands, but the soldiers opened fire…He lay down, lifeless. I saw this myself.”
Amnesty International asserts that IPOB protesters was killed as a consequences of excessive and unnecessary use of force.