Three members of separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), were reportedly killed, and two others injured by police officers during a clash in Owerri, Imo State capital on Tuesday, February 12, 2019.
According to a report by The Punch, members of the group had stormed Okigwe Road and destroyed billboards of candidates of political parties, just days to the 2019 general elections.
A police source told The Punch that the officers who were sent to the scene of the destruction were attacked by IPOB members, resulting in the tragic killing of the three.
The clash also left four officers injured after being reportedly shot when IPOB members got possession of an AK-47 from one of them, according to Southern City News.
The source said, "The IPOB members stormed the street and started destroying billboards of candidates of political parties. Policemen quickly rushed to the scene, but on sighting the policemen, the IPOB members attacked them.
"In the ensuing battle, three members of the IPOB lost their lives, while two were rushed to the hospital. Four policemen were also shot and taken to the hospital."
Another police source told The Punch that the Commander of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the command, Victor Geoffery, later mobilised his men to the scene and arrested some of the IPOB members.
"As I speak to you, 20 of them are in our custody," the source said.
He said Biafra insignias were recovered from the suspects who will be charged to court after an investigation.
The separatist group was branded a terrorist organisation by the Federal Government in 2017 after a series of high-profile clashes with the Nigerian Army. The group's leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is also on the run after jumping the bail he was granted on charges of treasonable felony.
Earlier this month, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, urged troops to clamp down on activities of the outlawed group to prevent disruption of the forthcoming election.