The Different Factions Of IPOB Insurgents Tormenting Nigeria’s Southeast
The Different Factions Of IPOB Insurgents Tormenting Nigeria’s Southeast
In This Review
Terrorists who are believed to be members of the banned Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) continue to carry out every kind of attack across Southeast Nigeria. The rise of rival factions within the group’s members has contributed to the ongoing insurgency.
The armies of the separatist organization, Eastern Security Network (ESN) has been in the forefront of the fighting for Southeast regions’ independence from Nigeria and to establish an independent state known as Biafra. This is a decade after the declaration of Biafra as the Biafra Republic led to a catastrophic civil war between the years 1967 and 1970 that eventually ended in failure.
The majority of recent attacks carried out by IPOB or ESN fighters have led to the death of state security personnel as well as civilians. They have also targeted markets, police stations and other public buildings as well as Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices as well as custodial centres.
On Sunday May 22, eleven people including a pregnant lady, Harira Jubril, and her four children suffered fatal injuries in Orumba and Onocha regions of Anambra. The deaths sparked outrage in the public and caused the government to announce a announcement of curfews in seven local governments in the state.
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Although it was declared a terrorist group in the year 2018, IPOB was founded in 2012 by Nnamdi Kanu, who had been at numerous gatherings and threatened Nigerian authorities.
In various instances the president referred to Nigeria in a way that resembled a zoo encouraging his followers to take on the government. “We have guns, and we require bullets. There’s only Biafra or die,” he said in an interview from 2017.
As Kanu is currently on before a trial for treasonable felony illegal possession of arms, and illegal export of broadcast equipment at an Federal High Court in Abuja, IPOB has continued to apply an illegal sit-at-home curfew each Monday in protest of the continued detention of Kanu.
The regular sit-at home protests, which are largely in compliance, means schools are closed to prevent students from being injured and socio-economic activities is frequently restricted. Furthermore, the growing violence that comes with secessionist agitation is also faced with the overly militarized response of security forces of the state.
Although IPOB states that its preferred method of getting self-determination is to hold an election and frequently invites its members to participate in protests that are symbolic across the cities of their home, Kanu had repeatedly fed his followers with provocative messages via his radio show via IPOB’s Radio Biafra.
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The posts have caused a flurry of attacks on pan-Igbo-based platforms such as Ohaneze. IPOB members taking on former Deputy Senate the President in Nigeria, Ike Ekweremadu, at a celebration of culture in Germany.
The separatist group later divided in 2020 due to an argument among Kanu as well as his deputy Uche Mefor, on how the group’s operations are run. Mefor quit after being accused of repeatedly warning Kanu to adhere to human rights in the struggle for Biafra.
After Mefor resigned as Kanu’s IPOB, Mefor floated a new radio station named “Biafra Human Rights and Freedom Radio,” saying that the radio is aimed at defending Igbos’ rights. Igbos that are infringed through Kanu’s IPOB.
But, SB Morgen Intelligence, an agency for geopolitical analysis and a geopolitical research agency, has revealed that Mefor’s resignation from IPOB was related to funds. The report stated that Kanu took him off the job following a faction within IPOB’s UK chapter, headed by Mefor who was the leader, demanded an accounting of the funds collected.
“Following that request, Kanu abolished the position of Deputy Leader, but many members of the UK chapter remained loyal to Mefor, who many see as a better organiser than Kanu,” in the report.
Mefor was a part of the Niger Delta activist the leader Asari Dokubo in the month of March 2021. He appeared in a sudden manner to announce the establishment of the Biafra de facto Customary Government (BCG), known to BCG.
Mefor, who claimed to be BCG’s spokesperson, claimed that Dokubo is the chief of the group, citing the inequity suffered by people of the Igbos by Kanu’s party as the main reason behind the current government.
Responding to the murders that have plagued the region’s southeast over the past couple of months, Mefor posted the following on Facebook saying that Kanu’s IPOB has transformed into a gang of killers “competing with the rogue elements in the Nigerian security forces in outdoing each other in committing crimes against civilian populations in the southeast.”
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Similar to previous instances of reckless murders carried out by terrorists in the area, IPOB denied involvement in the latest killing of Harira and her two children.
“We have always said it that the terrorists were imported into Biafra land to commit the ongoing atrocities all in an attempt to discredit our struggle, demonise IPOB and proscribe it, then lobby and bribe Britain to tag us a terror group with the hope to stop our match to freedom,” IPOB spokesperson Emma Powerful had claimed.
Who are the perpetrators?
Similar to The Kanu’s Radio Biafra and Mefor’s BHFR Radio There is a third online station dubbed”the Enter Biafra Freedom Awareness Channels as a propaganda site and online broadcast station that is managed by Simon Ekpa.
Ekpa is a well-known follower of Kanu and Kanu, who gained the limelight during the month of July. The Finland-based agitator was proclaimed as the chief broadcaster of Radio Biafra following the re-arrest of the IPOB leader by the Nigerian government. However, he was removed two weeks later due to his inability to sign the rules of Radio Biafra’s of engagement.
“The global family of the IPOB ably led by our great leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has observed with regrets that Mazi Simon Ekpa, whom our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu gave an appointment and duty to start broadcasting on Radio Biafra doesn’t want to follow the laid down rules of operation in Radio Biafra,” Emma Powerful said.
Despite his announcement of resignation, Ekpa wouldn’t back down and has since utilized social media to spread false information and encourage violence. HumAngle learned that Ekpa is also a fighter who are known as “Autopilot”, and they are accused of being the cause behind the increase in terrorist activities in the region.
There is however another group of fighters known as DOS and is led by former IPOB Directorate of State (DOS), Chika Edoziem. The DOS group is also claimed of “Autopilot” of being behind murders in the region of conflict. Edoziem was fired by Rabbi Charles who claims to have Kanu’s support.
If Anambra governor Charles Soludo recently met Kanu and Kanu, he told him that Kanu was IPOB leader was sad about the kidnapping and killing of innocent civilians in the area, “including the brutal enforcement of the senseless ‘sit-at-home’ perpetuated by sundry groups claiming to be acting for or on behalf of IPOB”.
Kanu’s family has advised Ekpa to not use Kanu’s name or image of Kanu in his radio broadcasts or fundraising efforts.
Who manages ESN?
HumAngle discovered from multiple sources from within IPOB that, according to the organization established by Kanu when he founded ESN the fighting force wasn’t intended to receive orders of IPOB coordinators. Kanu is
believed to be the top commander of ESN and the only person is able to give instructions on behalf of the army.
But, multiple videos have surfaced that show ESN performing combat drills and holding rifles of military quality. The violent actions of terrorists are taking over cities and communities in the Southeast and residents are finding themselves stuck between two rocks and a difficult space.
The intense conflict for power within the IPOB’s echelon has led to the opening of a Pandora’s Box of insurgency within the region.