The presence of Nigerian troops around the southern town of Oyigbo, near the oil-hub of Port Harcourt, after a separatist group allegedly killed six soldiers last week, is generating furore online and offline.
Oyigbo has been under a 24-hour curfew on the order of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike.
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According to a Bloomberg report, Wike asked the authorities to arrest members of the Indigenous People of Biafra group whom he alleged were responsible for attacking the security forces under the guise of the protests against police brutality.
“People have not stepped out of their homes for days,” Stephen Onwukwe, a resident of the town, said by phone.
“Soldiers are patrolling the streets, breaking into people’s houses and we’re hearing gunfire from time to time.”
At least 69 people, including 18 security force members, died last month in the nationwide protests against police brutality; while at least 205 police stations were destroyed, according to the police.
Several organizations, including the Amnesty International and various individuals, had appealed to Wike to withdraw the troops.
The global rights group, Amnesty International, expressed worries over the development, alleging that dead bodies littered the streets in the local government area.
It tweeted, “Amnesty International is receiving disturbing information from #Oyigbo, Rivers State. Despite the existing curfew, soldiers are allegedly invading homes. Some residents reported seeing dead bodies on the street, allegedly shot by soldiers.”
The military could not be reached for comments as of the time of filing this report.