The Ariaria Police Station in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, was set ablaze by men, believed to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on Thursday.
The incident occurred some hours before the Federal Government ordered the withdrawal of troops from major towns in Abia State, which have been under siege since Saturday when the Nigerian Army began its Operation Python Dance II.
The Abia State Police Public Relations Officer, Geoffrey Ogbonna, confirmed the burning of the police station, adding that the arsonists also injured a policeman.
It was learnt that aside from the Aba incident, irate mob made for the residence of the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Adeleye Oyebade, in Umuahia, the state capital but were repelled by some policemen at the residence, who fired tear gas canisters to disperse the surging crowd.
Oyebade, who was replaced as the state’s police boss on Thursday, said the agitators did not gain entrance into the compound.
Ogbonna, who stated that the attack was carried out around 6.30am, said, “Ariaria police station (Aba) was burnt down this morning.
“The people that did this, we are suspecting are IPOB hoodlums.
“The people came in their numbers, besieged the station and one of our policemen was beaten up; but glory be to God, we did not lose the officer’s life.”
The PPRO said the police didn’t respond in kind to the attack in order to avoid recording casualties.
“If anything like that had taken place, it would have worsened the situation,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Mr. Anthony Ogbizi, on Thursday, took over from Oyebade as the new Commissioner of Police in Abia State.
Ogbizi reassured residents of the command’s resolve to protect their lives and property.
The new police boss stated this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Umuahia.
He said adequate security architecture had been put in place to make commercial and social activities thrive without any hitch across the state.
Also, three persons were allegedly shot by security operatives on Aka Library Avenue on Thursday morning in Umuahia.
The incident happened at about 9.30am, according to an eyewitness, who added that the victims were shot close to the Diamond Bank near the Abia State Government House gate.
The source alleged that two of the three persons shot died instantly while the third was fatally injured, adding that some soldiers took the corpses and the injured away in their truck.
The incident created panic among residents as shop owners hurriedly locked their shops while most streets in the area were deserted.
At Afaraukwu, the home of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, panic stricken residents locked their shops and residential gates.