Soldiers Killed, Military Vehicle Burned In South-East Nigeria Attack

Nmesoma Okwudili


June 2, 2024

On Thursday, at least four soldiers were killed in Aba, the commercial center of Abia State in Nigeria’s South-east, when armed assailants launched an attack. Approximately 15 gunmen targeted the soldiers around 8:00 a.m. at a military checkpoint located at Obikabia Junction in Aba. The assailants were reportedly enforcing a sit-at-home order issued by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). This order was part of the group’s annual commemoration of Biafra Day, honoring those who died in the Biafran civil war from 1967 to 1970.

In a statement released on Wednesday, May 22, IPOB warned the West African Examination Council and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, to reschedule their examinations planned for Thursday. The group, represented by its spokesman Emma Powerful, emphasized that Biafra Day is a significant remembrance event, asserting that no government or security agency had the right to harass individuals observing the day.

The group emphasized that the warning was essential because, on that day, the movement of people and vehicles would be strictly prohibited. Exceptions would be made only for those involved in essential or emergency services, including health workers, ambulances, fire services, gas stations, and hospitals.

A witness, who gave his name only as Marvelous, reported to this newspaper that the masked assailants arrived at the junction and immediately began shooting at the soldiers.

“Four of the soldiers were killed. The other soldier sustained serious gunshot injury. I am not sure he will survive it,” Marvelous said in Pidgin English language.

“The gunmen came in black Highlander (SUV). Even some ordinary people sustained gunshot injuries,” he added.

Several video clips showing masked gunmen attacking soldiers have been circulating on Facebook and other social media platforms. In one clip, armed men dressed in black attire can be seen firing sporadically around the junction. A military patrol truck is visible in the background, suggesting it was part of the soldiers’ setup in the area.

Another clip captures the chaos from a different perspective, showing terrified residents fleeing for safety as gunfire erupts. The fear among the locals is palpable, as people scramble to find shelter and avoid the violence. This same video depicts the gunmen setting the military patrol truck on fire, indicating a deliberate effort to destroy military property and assert their dominance in the situation.

The dissemination of these videos has heightened tensions and fear among the local population, emphasizing the severity of the attack and its immediate impact on the community. The incident underscores the ongoing security challenges in the region, as well as the boldness and organization of the attackers, who operated in broad daylight and documented their actions for public dissemination.

Shortly after the attack, another video shows a lone armed soldier surveying the area, seemingly checking to ensure that the assailants had indeed left. This soldier’s cautious movements reflect the uncertainty and danger still present in the aftermath of the attack. The soldier’s actions underscore the precarious security situation in the area and the constant vigilance required by military personnel.

“This army man is the only surviving person here. He was the only person that ran away,” a male voice was heard speaking in the background in the video.

Another clip showed some youths carrying a young man who appeared to have been struck by stray bullets.

Following these attacks, which have sparked widespread concern and outrage, many are calling for increased security measures and a more robust response to such violent crimes. Apart from creating suffering in the immediate vicinity, the tragedy and its ensuing viral social media campaign have drawn national and international attention to the persistent conflicts and instability in southeast Nigeria. The peasants’ desperation as they fled and the attackers’ boldness paint a vivid image of the region’s current security situation and the urgent need for effective measures to protect people and establish peace.


Gunmen Kill Soldiers In S’East, Burn Patrol Vehicle

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