Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters has branded separatist group, the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organisation.
The declaration which observers believe may heighten the tension already palpable as a result of the deployment of troops for Operation Python Dance II in the south-east region was made on Friday in Abuja.
Director, Defence Information, John Enenche while announcing the military’s decision to designate IPOB as a “militant terrorist organisation” also urged parents to dissuade their wards from joining the group.
Enenche equally restated the commitment of the armed forces to confront “all security challenges facing the country” while assuring of the protection of lives and property in all parts of the country.
The military information said the IPOB posed a security challenge and had been metamorphosing from one stage to another. He also described as false the claim by IPOB members that the organisation was non-violent.
“In this regard, some of their actions, clandestinely and actively, that have been terrorising the general public include:
“The formation of a Biafra Secret Service, claimed formation of Biafra National Guard, unauthorised blocking of public access roads and extortion of money from innocent civilians at illegal road blocks.
“Militant possession and use of weapons (stones, molotov cocktails, machetes and broken bottles, among others) on a military patrol on Sept. 10, 2017.
“Physical confrontation of troops by Nnamdi Kanu and other IPOB actors at a check point on Sept. 11, 2017 and also attempt to snatch their rifles.
“Attack by IPOB members on a military check point on Sept. 12, 2017, at Isialangwa, where one IPOB actor attempted to snatch a female soldier’s rifle,” Enenche said.
In the statement which was published by The Cable, the Defence Headquarters maintained that its decision was taken after a careful analysis of IPOB’s actions, plans and intentions.