The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has denied claims that its members were killed by security agencies in Imo state.
On Wednesday, the group denied any link to gunmen who were recently killed by soldiers.
The Nigerian Army had recently busted a shrine in Orlu, Imo State, reportedly used by gunmen who were alleged to be members of the Eastern Security Network.
Reacting in a statement on Wednesday by Emma Powerful, IPOB said those who were killed were not members of its security wing, the ESN as it warned Nigerian security agents against linking it to every criminal activity in the region.
IPOB said the killing of the gunmen was laudable noting that it had warned against criminals forcefully enforcing Monday sit-at-home in the region.
IPOB said, “We use this medium to tell the Nigeria government and its security agencies especially the military on a mission to depopulate Biafran youths to drop their wicked agenda.
”We wish to remind them that those they killed in iheoma and Amaifeke in Orlu were not IPOB members or ESN operatives because IPOB volunteers don’t enforce non-existent Monday sit-at-home. It’s not in doubt that IPOB issued Monday sit-at-home order to show solidarity with our leader but upon pleas by our mothers and elders based on its adverse effects on the economy of our people, we quickly rescinded it.
”Anyone still enforcing Monday sit-at-home is not a genuine IPOB member but a dissident, and doesn’t deserve any mercy. We have severally threatened to deal with these dissidents giving us a bad name. So, we even commend security agencies for dealing with such hoodlums in the manner they deserve because of their stubbornness.
“IPOB is a disciplined and responsible movement. We don’t know where such hoodlums are coming from and what agenda they are pursuing but certainly not Biafra’s agenda.
“We, therefore, ask the security agencies to stop referring to such dissidents as IPOB members because they don’t belong to us. The security agencies should stop associating us with criminals that have no connections whatsoever with IPOB.
“We equally advise them to be professional in dealing with such characters so that innocent citizens are not caught in the crossfire.
“It should be noted that IPOB volunteers are not in the market or streets; they know their duty posts – in the bushes and forests of Biafraland protecting our farmlands from the Fulani terrorists masquerading as herdsmen in our territory.
“It’s unfortunate that the Nigeria security agencies are turning the truth upside down because they want the public to believe they are working hard while in reality, they are pursuing an Islamist agenda. They kill innocent citizens on the streets and tag them IPOB members and ESN operatives.
“Nigeria army should leave the people of Orlu in peace and allow them to go about their daily business and focus on the terrorists and bandits in the North where killings are the order of the day.”