Police arrest 21 suspects over unrest in Rivers

The police in Rivers have arrested 21 people suspected to have taken part in the unrest in the state last week, which led to the burning of police stations and the loss of lives.

Communities along roads to Oyigbo and Ikwerre were among the worst hit, and police believe members of the pro-Biafra separatist group IPOB orchestrated attacks.

In a statement on Monday, the Rivers police commissioner Joseph Mukan said three policemen and four other civilians were killed in those two areas while three police stations were burned.

Many residents of Oyigbo come from the southeast because of the proximity between Oyigbo and Aba in Abia state. Also, the people of Oyigbo speak a language related to Igbo.

Given the nature of that relationship between Oyigbo locals and the Igbo people, there is common belief IPOB has a substantial presence in Oyigbo and that the group’s activities there may be extremist.

Mr. Mukan said police have been deployed to the restive areas to restore peace. “[We] will continue to closely monitor the area amidst the curfew imposed by the State Government,” he added.

Governor Wike declared a curfew in the restive areas last week and prohibited IPOB from organising in the state.

A federal high court already proscribed IPOB in 2018.

There has been civil unrest in most southern states in the country since a deadly army crackdown on peaceful #EndSARS protesters in Lagos on October 20. Nearly all of the 17 southern states have declared a curfew to contain the crisis.

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