Enugu — The Biafra Zionists Federation (BZF) has given a 48-hour ultimatum to the Federal Government to withdraw troops from the South-East and other parts of the country. The move followed the recent launch of Operation Python Dance II by the Nigerian Army and alleged killing of agitators in Umuahia, the Abia State capital on Sunday.
In a statement yesterday in Enugu, the leader of the group, Mazi Benjamin Onwuka, warned that the government and army would pay dearly for the reported lost lives, which the military has since denied.
The body said deploying soldiers in the zone amounts to a political suicide, which it is prepared to contain.
It noted: "Army has nothing to do with Biafra and this intimidation will not work. The crusade is alive and has since been recognised by the United States. So, it can no longer be crushed. Our back-up is the U.S. So, Buhari is wasting his time because the Army will not stop Biafra's independence.
"Sending troops to come to intimidate us is not going to work. Any loss of life by any Biafran, whoever the form it takes, is a great pain and regrettable. But they will pay very dearly."
Onwuka asserted: "We are giving them 48 hours to withdraw all troops from the South-East, South-South and the Middle Belt.
"In the North, the Boko Haram and the Hausa-Fulani herdsmen are killing people in thousands. In the Middle Belt, civilians are being killed by rampaging herdsmen. How many troops have they sent there? But down here, they sent them to kill unarmed agitators.
"So, it is a terrorist attack and they will definitely face charges for war crimes when the time comes."
Contacted, the Army Deputy Director, Public Relations, 82 Division, Enugu, Col Musa Sagir, said: "The issues raised are beyond my capacity. Refer to strategic leadership for comments."
However, efforts to speak with Army Director of Information, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, were futile as he neither picked calls nor responded to text messages sent to his phone.