|POLICE AND SOLDIERS BEGIN TO TAKE POSITION|
have had more than a passing interest in the agitation for a Biafran State to be carved out of Nigeria, and repeated stories of atrocities committed against the Biafran (Igbo) advocates. I have to admit that I had tended to discount these at least partially because of the passionate language used in the telling.
To-day, I had the opportunity to view a 44 minute video taken on 9th February at the National High School in Aba. Normally I would not watch a lengthy video of news, but this made specific claims and I wanted to test their truthfulness. The Video had the advantage of being narrated by someone there as it was being taken, and the fellow was moderate in language and no rabble-rouser.
I saw gathered on this High School playing field several thousand people demonstrating for the creation of a Biafran State and praying to God for that to happen. Now, of course, I could not understand what they were saying and had to rely on the narrator, except in the case of praying when the hands raised in supplication and the eyes raised to Heaven made it obvious what was happening. The crowd was noisy , even boisterous in the Nigerian way, chanting, singing, and occasionally dancing and waving Biafran flags about.
In a public place like a street or square, one might have said they were "disturbing the peace "- but they were on a huge playing field far from others and from traffic. They were entirely peaceful, there was no violence of any sort. In a way, one could even say it was a proud, happy gathering.
Then the Nigerian Police drove onto the field accompanied by elements of the Nigerian Army. They first surrounde the crowd at a distance . Then they moved in and grabbed some of the relatively few women there and forced them into the back of a Utility truck handling them roughly and then beating them with long rods. Then they opened fire with Tear Gas in huge quantities to force the men away from the vehicles and then they opened fire with rifles wounding a large number of men and killiing ten of them . These bodies they loaded into other vehicles along with a few of the wounded The poor , rather innocent narrator was left saying "This is terrible", "This is terrible".
Well, I can assure you that for me it was horribly affecting. It had an immediacy and an impact I could not have imagined. After the event the camera went about the side streets the crowd had retreated to with their dead and wounded - some had finally died there in the street, as the departing Police /Military convoy went away with its vile modern sirens blaring and screaming. To watch this atrocity recorded as it occurred, and only a few days later,was an appalling and revealing experience.
I went outside later into beautiful sunshine and blue Aussie skies, under which the biggest problem is the price of petrol, and contemplated what it is like in Nigeria to-day where people do not have freedom of assembly in effect, do not have the freedom to go about their "lawful occasions" cannot even be sure that their physical safety or life is secure from the depredations of the Police and the Military.
It is the world turned upside down, those who should protect, attack,and their violence is arbitrary and irrational and illegal - but committed with impunity.
I am greatly shocked and affected by all this as you might gather. But don't let anyone ever again suggest to me that FB is useless.
Pray for the people of Nigeria that they might be freed from this corrupt and oppressive Government. Pray for the dead, the wounded, the widows and orphans and for the beaten ladies.