BreakingNews 6/6/14 - 2 Killed As Pro-Biafra Militants Attempt To Seize Radio Station

[ Masterweb Reports ] – Members of the Pro-Biafra group, Biafra Zionist Federation (BZF) led by Barrister Benjamin Onwuka,  again invaded the Enugu State Broadcasting Service, ESBS in an attempt to seize the radio and television station for a broadcast.
 
The group had attacked the Government House, Enugu on March 8, 2014 claiming that it had re-established the Republic of Biafra by hoisting its flag at the Government House. The police declared Onwuka wanted placing a bounty of N5 million on him.
 
Thursday’s move by the group to make a television and radio broadcast was however foiled by a team of policemen who were alerted by some staff of the station who arrived for the morning duty and met their premises under siege.
 
But a police sergeant and a member of BZF were killed in a shootout while a police inspector who led the team was seriously wounded.
 
The BZF leader, Benjamin Onwuka and 12 members of his group were arrested as they tried to escape from the station after the clash with the policemen and are now undergoing interrogation at the Criminal Investigations Department of the State Police Command.
 
Eyewitness accounts said the BZM members in an operation similar to the March 8 invasion of the Enugu Government House, stormed the premises of the station through the fence at about 5.30 am and held the security men and staff on night shift hostage.
 
They forcefully gained entry into the offices including the studio and made attempts to put on the equipment for a live broadcast by the BZM leader but unknown to them the television had been off air since the past two days while they were unable to have access to the radio station which was broadcasting at the time.
 
“While they were struggling with the station’s staff, four policemen who got wind of the invasion by the hoodlums arrived the premises in two patrol cars and moved into the station to confront them. Soon after they got into the building we started hearing gunshots and people were running helter-skelter.
 
“There was heavy shooting but I don’t know if the BZM members were armed. At the end we saw the corpse of a police sergeant and a member of the group on the floor. The Police Inspector who sustained injuries on his head was immediately taken away by his colleagues,” an eyewitness said.
 
However, having failed to accomplish their mission, Onwuka and his colleagues escaped through the Universal Hotel road on foot but some mobile policemen drafted to the scene from the Government House, which is about a kilometer away, pursued them into the bush behind some government offices near the State House of Assembly Complex and apprehended them.
 
Onwuka and 12 members were reportedly arrested and taken to the state police headquarters.
 
The State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu confirmed the arrest of Onwuka and his members but he did not give the number of those in custody.
 
He said that “one police sergeant was killed, one other police officer injured while one died on the side of the hoodlums”, promising to give further details when ongoing enquiry into their activities were concluded.
 
The State Commissioner of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, said members of the pro-Biafra group that invaded the ESBS Thursday morning were on a mission to take over the government.
 
He stated this while parading the 13 BZM members including their leader, Barrister Benjamin Igwe Onwuka at the State Police headquarters.
 
He gave the names of other members of the group being detained with Onwuka as Paulinus Uzoegbu, Michael Oleinya, Ndubuisi Nnamchi, Bethrand Obiekwe, Kelvin Ekeh, Abraham Ugwu, Chukwuma Alogius, Ijaga Sampson, Josephat Nwodo, Nwonu Fidelis and Uduma Uduma.
 
The commissioner who gave details of what the group did at the station said: “When they went to the ESBS, they got entrance into the studio and wanted them to give them access to make a live broadcast to the people of Nigeria. In the broadcast theyhave a CD rom where the details of what they wanted to tell members of the public was and in the CD rom, they made a summary of it in a sheet of paper and the highlight of it  are; an appeal calling for all boys in Obiagu to come out, all boys from Ogui to come out, all  boys in Enugu to come out, _ they also asked  students to come out, those people with KekeNapep to come out. They wanted to order all businesses closed today, all schools to be closed, all markets to be closed and all government officials to surrender all property in their possession before midday. You can see these people where in a mission of trying to overturn the government and it is something that we will never tolerate”.
 
 
He continued, “Recall that in march this year, they had attacked government house, Enugu.  We had earlier declared their leader wanted.  The same group of  Biafran Zionist Federation led by their leader, Benjamin Igwe Onwuka invaded the Enugu State Broadcasting Service with the intention  that after the broadcast, they will set the place ablaze.
 
“They carried  with them a lot of arms, machetes, 25 liters of petrol, 46 empty beer bottles and one Biafran Zionist flag and some CDs. The purpose of going there with petrol and bottles, you know when you put petrol inside a bottle and shake it and throw it into a building, it will inflame. They went there also with guns because when the policemen confronted them, they shot a sergeant and killed him and in the process of trying to prevent them from setting the place ablaze, they also had a casualty, one of them was shot dead.  About thirteen of them were arrested including the leader, Benjamin Onwuka”.
 
The Commissioner warned any group of persons and individuals planning  to foment trouble in whatever form that will cause breach of peace to desist, saying it will not be tolerated.
 
Efforts made to speak with the suspects were rebuffed as the commissioner
 
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