An unspecified number of members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) and one policeman were killed in at least two clashes in Imo today.
The first shootout occurred when the police stormed the ESN camp at Akata in Oru East Local Government Area.
In the exchange of fire, the head of the IPOB/ESN group and scores of others were neutralised, police said.
Police said they recovered three Improvised Explosives Devices (I.E.D), two Pump Action Guns, nine Cartridges, One Locally Made Pistol and One Toyota Highlander SUV vehicle with registration number IMO DFB 535 LC.
IPOB/ESN members retaliated, when the police claimed they ambushed their vehicles returning from the raid.
The vehicles and occupants were bombarded with petrol bombs and improvised explosives.
At least one policeman died in the ambush, while two have been hospitalised.
In raiding the IPOB/ESN camp, police said they were relying on information that some IPOB/ESN elements were mobilising to attack police formations and government installations from their camp located at Akata in Oru East LGA of Imo State.
Commissioner of Police, Hussaini Rabiu immediately, dispatched the command’s Special Forces and tactical teams to dislodge the ESN members from the camp.
The operation was led by the officer- in- charge of Operation Restore Peace, ACP Evans Shem.
Police spokesman CSP Michael Abattam, said when the police team got to the camp, members were attacked by the ESN members.
On the return journey of the police team, the ESN members reinforced and regrouped
“It was at the fourth blockade that the police teams came under heavy attack while removing the fourth palm tree log used in blocking the exit path”.
Read the police statement:
“Sequel to credible information by the command’s intelligence unit, revealing that some bandits suspected to be IPOB/ESN terror groups were seen mobilizing to attack police formations and government installations in the state from their camp located at Akata in Oru East LGA of Imo State.
“The Commissioner of Police, Imo State Command immediately, dispatched the command’s Special Forces and tactical teams led by the officer in charge of Operation Restore Peace, ACP EVANS E. SHEM to go and dislodged the bandits as a proactive measure to nip their planned attack in the bud.”
“On approaching the terror camp, the teams were attacked by the terror groups. Save for the Armoured Personnel Carriers and sophisticated weapons used by the police the bandits were overwhelmed and they scampered for safety into the bush. The head of the group and others were neutralized during the attack.
“On searching the camp and the surrounding bushes, the following items were recovered namely; Three (3) Improvised Explosives Devices (I.E.D), Two (2) Pump Action Guns, Nine (9) Cartridges, One (1) Locally Made Pistol and One (1) Toyota Highlander SUV vehicle with registration number IMO DFB 535 LC and were taken to the station.”
“On their way back unknown to police teams that the bandits have reinforced and regrouped laying ambush using palm tree logs to block the entire exit paths in the bush. It was at the fourth blockade that the police teams came under heavy attack while removing the fourth palm tree log used in blocking the exit path. The bandits threw petrol bombs and Improvised Explosives Devices (I.E.Ds) at the police vehicles. Again, the tactical teams successfully dislodged the bandits where several of them were neutralized and others fled into the bush with bullets injuries. Unfortunately, one of the police Hilux vehicles was burnt due to the petrol bombs thrown at it.
“Also three police officers sustained bullet injuries and were rushed to the hospital.
One of them died on the way while the other two are in stable condition undergoing treatment in a government hospital,” Police said.