By Augustine Anioke, Abakaliki
The Police in Ebonyi state on Tuesday raided a suspected camp of Eastern Security Network(ESN) in the state killing three of the members of the group.
ESN is the militia wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB).
Police spokesperson in the state Chris Anyanwu revealed this in a statement.
He said the operation was jointly carried out with Military and Department of State Security (DSS) officers.
Mr Anyanwu said the camp raided by the Police was in Isu within Onicha local government area of the State.
According to him the raid was sequel to an attack on a Police patrol team on Monday evening during which a Police officer was murdered in cold blood by the hoodlums.
“Based on intelligence at the Police Command’s disposal, the hoodlums were trailed to a camp at Isu Onicha”
“While surveying the one-way route into the camp, the combined security forces were ambushed by the hoodlums who rained sporadic bullet shots in their direction”
“In a swift and spontaneous response, the joint team engaged the hoodlums in a counter-firing that lasted over 30 minutes and neutralized them.
“As a result of the superior firing power of the joint team, some of the hoodlums with bullet-wounds scampered for escape in different directions.
“The team later combed the bush and recovered two AK rifles with a few rounds of their ammunition and three corpses of the assailants”.
“The team made their way to the main enclave of the miscreants and after a thorough ransacking, recoverd more exhibits”, he said
Some of the items recovered after the operation include one AK-49 rifle breech number 1984-AM1196, One AK-47 rifle breech number 1971-DF2726, One AR rifle with illegible breech number, One hundred and forty-seven (147) rounds of AR ammunition, and Thirty-eight (38) rounds of AK-47 ammunition
Others include “One locally fabricated double-barrelled pistol, Two walkie-talkie sets and their chargers, Two charm-like substances, One hospital card, One Diamond bank ATM card, Two National ID cards, One Techno phone battery, and other incriminating items.
Mr Anyanwu said the fatally wounded gunmen were confirmed dead at the hospital adding that efforts are still on to apprehend the fleeing criminals.
Arrest of two native doctors
The spokesperson also said that the police also raided the shrine and residences of two notorious native doctors in Ikwo local government area.
He gave the names of the native doctors as Itumo Omukwor aged 63yrs and Irem Ogbeji Nwaduma aged 50yrs, all of Okpera Osege in Ndufu Echara Ikwo LGA, of Ebonyi State..
Hé said that one locally fabricated pistol, one revolver pump action gun with two cartridges and substances believed to be charms were recovered from them.
According to him, the duo were arrested in connection to the incessant attacks on Police formations/personnel and government establishments.
The police spokesperson said they were responsible for preparing charms for members of the criminal groups in the state.
“The Police Command advises all medical practitioners and hospital operators to report any case of patients with bullet injuries to the police for necessary actions”
“Members of the public are hereby implored to assist the Police with relevant information about the activities of the criminals and their hideouts and be assured of utmost protection of their identities”, he added.
Deteriorating security in south-east
Security in Nigeria’s South-east has deteriorated in recent times, with frequent attacks by armed persons.
The attacks often target security agencies, government officials and facilities and high profile individuals.
The police has blamed the attacks on IPOB and its armed wing ESN but the group continues to deny responsibility.
IPOB’s Leader, Nnamdi Kanu is being held by Nigeria’s federal government and is facing prosecution for alleged treason.
Mr Kanu has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
IPOB is a group that is seeking for an independent state of Biafra to be carved out of present day south-east and part of south south of Nigeria.