Army agrees to withdraw troops from Abia

The Nigerian Army on Thursday agreed to withdraw soldiers from Aba and Umuahia in Abia state, and would begin leaving both cities on Friday, September 15.

The state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, who reached an agreement on this with the Army, announced the withdrawal of troops during a press conference on Thursday.

Troops had been deployed to the state and other parts of the South-east for a military exercise code-named Operation Python Dance II. The soldiers have had confrontations with members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The withdrawal of soldiers was confirmed on Twitter by Ikpeazu’s Personal Assistant, Mr. Sam Hart, who also tweeted images from the press conference.

Meanwhile, suspected hoodlums on Wednesday night reportedly set fire to the Ariaria Market Police Station in the commercial city of Aba.

The arson was in defiance of the dusk to dawn curfew imposed on Aba by the governor.

Following the incident, security has been beefed up at the Aba Area Command Headquarters and other Police Divisions in the commercial city. The Area Command headquarters was cordoned off even as vehicles were not allowed to enter the adjourning roads.

Tension has been high in Abia since soldiers trooped to Aba and Umuahia, the state capital, on Sunday, purportedly on a mission to apprehend leader of the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu. But the Nigerian Army denied that the troops were in Umuahia to apprehend Kanu.

Most markets in the city and other businesses have been closed with people staying in their homes as youth unrest spread round the city with the rumour mill buzzing that soldiers burnt houses and killed some residents of Umuode near Aba and its environs.



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