The Nigerian Army has explained the reason behind its extrajudicial killing of pro-Biafran activists who were supposed to celebrate their 50th anniversary and commemoration of their heroes on Monday, May 30, 2016.

Addressing the killing in a statement, the Army’s spokesman, Sani Usman said the Nigerian army troops were forced to make the decision adding that the military shot protesters over “unwarranted attack, breach of peace and creation of wide spread panic, tension and apprehension”.

The statement reads in part: “Due to the wide spread panic, tension and apprehension that generated from the activities of the IPOB members, security agencies which comprised of detachment of Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police, Department of State Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency were compelled to intervene in consonance with constitutional provisions of aid to civil authority where and when such occasion demands,”

“The overarching imperative to ensure a reign of peace, security and stability in this circumstance was most starring.

“The nature of this attack involved brazen employment of various types of fire arms and all sorts of crude weapons, volatile cocktail such as acid and dynamites.

“Instructively, troops of 82 division Nigerian army as the lead agency of the security agents had to invoke the extant Rules of Engagement (ROE) to resort to self defence, protection of the strategic Niger Bridge, prevent re-enforcement of the pro-Biafra members apparently surging ahead from the far side of the strategic Niger Bridge at Onitsha. All these efforts were in order to de-escalate the palpable tension as well as ward off the apparent threats to lives and property in the general area.

“In the aftermath of the fire fight that ensued, many of own troops sustained varying degrees of injury. These injured troops are currently receiving treatment at own medical centre. Similarly, 5 members of IPOB were killed, 8 wounded while 9 were arrested for due legal actions.”

Following the shooting which resulted in the death of some of the protesters, the Biafra group claimed it lost not less than 30 lives in the attack while the police, confirming the deaths announced only five casualties.

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