new attack on the police raises tensions again

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The Nigerian police have once again targeted the southeastern part of the country. A police inspector died on Sunday, September 18, in an ambush by gunmen in the city of Onitsha, in the state of Anambra, an area plagued by separatist tensions.

This new police attack comes in an already tense context in southeastern Nigeria where more than a hundred police officers have been killed since the beginning of the year, according to authorities. The attack has not been claimed, but for Abuja there is no doubt that the Biafran Independence Movement (Ipob) is behind the attacks.

Their demands intensified in late June following the arrest of their leader Nnamdi Kanu. And every Monday since August 9, Ipob urges residents in the southeast to stay at home, in protest. President Muhammadu Buhari even visited the region two weeks ago. Nevertheless, the independence tendencies are strong.

For its part, the largest separatist group denies it: in a press release, it recalls that its armed wing, the ESN, is only a civilian self-defense militia, created to protect the population of “Fulani ramparts” in the north …

These attacks on the police revive the wounds of the Biafran war. “Before the eyes of an entire generation, our generation, there is the same spring that 1967 in Nigeria led to the civil war in Biafra: injustice. We see that 97% of the new generation of Igbo origins are tired, they are not interested in the so-called Nigeria “, states Comrade Igboayaka Igboayaka, President of the Ohanaeze Youth Council, which brings together all Igbo communities.

No president has ever been of Igbo ethnicity, which is considered an injustice in this region. This weekend, several governors from the south announced that they will not support any candidate from the north, which raises fears of new tensions as the 2023 presidential election approaches.

The Buhari administration is increasingly becoming a northern government. (…) The feeling of being abandoned increases

Olufemi Vaughan, Professor at Amherst College, USA.

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