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According to the Nigerian military, separatists killed at least 11 people in a surprise assault on a checkpoint in the state of Abia.

On Thursday, the outlawed separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), allegedly attacked the Obikabia junction in Aba, resulting in the deaths of six civilians and five soldiers. According to defense spokesman Major-General Edward Buba, he warned that the military would apply overwhelming force to ensure the group’s defeat.

Despite the accusation, IPOB denied responsibility for the attack. In a statement, a spokesman said, “We condemn the attack on [the] military [working] in Aba.” The spokesman added that the attack appeared to be “politically motivated by criminals.” Despite IPOB’s claims of not being involved, the Nigerian government has banned the group, labeling it a terrorist organization. Authorities have repeatedly accused IPOB of inciting ethnic tensions and blamed its Eastern Security Network for recent attacks on police, soldiers, and electoral offices in the southeast.

The attack coincided with the commemoration of victims from the three-year civil war that began on May 30, 1967, following the declaration of an independent Biafra state by Igbo army officers. That war resulted in over a million deaths, primarily from starvation.

The unrest adds to the pressures on the Nigerian government and military, which are already dealing with various conflicts across the country, including kidnappings and attacks in the northwest, a long-standing rebellion in the northeast, and sectarian clashes in central regions.


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