A peaceful rally organized by separatist groups in Nigeria, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), to support and celebrate the newly sworn-in U.S. President Donald Trump turned bloody in the oil-rich city of Port Harcourt in the Rivers State of Nigeria’s Niger Delta region on Friday . . .
Eyewitnesses said one person was shot dead by Nigerian soldiers deployed to stop the rally while the organizers of the event claimed that 11 people were killed.
The Nigerian police denied any death.
Police spokesman in Rivers State, Nnamdi Omoni, dismissed the death claim as false, saying the police only used tear gas.
Many of the protesters who carried photographs of Donald Trump and waved Biafra, American and Russian flags, are believed to have been brought in from the commercial city of Aba in nearby Abia State.
Eleven of the demonstrators were feared killed and scores of supporters of IPOB and MASSOB injured during what they termed, the Trump Peaceful Solidarity Rally in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The pro-Biafra group said 11 of its members were killed during the rally.
The pro-Biafra group members and supporters from various parts of the state had gathered in Port Harcourt as early as 5 am local time for the pro-Trump peaceful rally which took the leadership of IPOB some weeks to organize – with an eye on Friday Jan 20, 2017 in Washington DC.
Reports say that four of the IPOB members were shot dead by soldiers in the Garrison and Rumuola areas of the city, respectively, while one person was shot dead on Okporo Road, by 1st Artillery junction, in Obio/Akpor local government area. Scores who were wounded were said to have been rushed to the hospital and there were fears that the number of deaths may increase at the end of the day.
A source disclosed that the incident occurred when a joint team of Nigerian security operatives shot at the advancing throng of demonstrating pro-Biafra youths in an attempt to disperse them.
It was gathered that both the dead and injured IPOB protesters were quickly evacuated from the scene by security men.
Meanwhile, IPOB members have said that the State of Biafra cannot be silenced, no matter the amount of intimidation and harassment by troops of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
These pro-Biafra groups believe that President Donald Trump will use the levers of presidential power of the United States of America to support their breakaway (independence of Biafra) from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It will be recalled that the former Eastern Nigeria declared the Republic of Biafra – during an attempted breakaway from Nigeria that led to a fratricidal civil war between the breakaway Biafra and Nigeria (i.e. the Nigerian civil war or the Nigeria-Biafra war) which lasted from 1967-1970 – when Biafra was defeated by the Nigerian military aided and supported with military hardware by Britain and the then Soviet Union (USSR).
The two-and-half-year war of attrition came with its attendant hunger, suffering and degradation inflicted on the then Biafrans by the Nigerian federal might.
The quest for Biafran independence from Nigeria appears not to be abating any time soon.
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