Troops of the Nigerian army have arrested five suspected members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its militant wing, Eastern Security Network in Anambra and Imo States, Nigeria’s south-east.
The army spokesperson, Onyema Nwachukwu, who disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday, said the troops also destroyed some hideouts and training camps of the separatist group.
Mr Nwachukwu, a brigadier-general, said the hideouts and camps, located in Orsomoghu Forest which extends into the two states, were raided as part of ongoing operations to “deter enforcement” of an illegal two weeks sit-at-home order declared by a faction of the IPOB.
The army spokesperson said the operation was carried out on Monday by troops of 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, in collaboration with the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies.
He said the operation followed a tip-off about some “violent activities of the irredentist group enforcing the illegal two weeks sit-at-home-order in Onitsha, Nnewi and Iheme Obosi in Anambra State, as well as New Market in Enugu State.”
“During the operations, the troops cleared IPOB camps in Eke-Ututu, Orsomoghu, Lilu and Mother Valley camps of the dissidents,” he said.
Eke-Ututu is a community in Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State which shares boundary with Orsomoghu and Lilu in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Mr Nwachukwu said the troops came in contact with armed IPOB fighters who detonated Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) locally referred to as “Ogbunigwe” and also “fired at the troops using locally fabricated mortar tubes.
“The valiant troops, however, overpowered the irredentist group in the firefight, compelling them to abandon their position as they fled with gunshot wounds into nearby bushes.
“Further cordon and search of the hideouts by the troops led to the arrest of five fleeing members of the group,” the army spokesperson said.
“Sadly, five soldiers and two Nigeria Police operatives sustained varying degrees of injuries from the IED detonated by the criminals.”
One IPOB flag, one CCTV camera, two detonated IEDs and a fabricated mortar tube were among the items recovered from the separatists, according to the army.
The army urged residents of the South-east to continue to support the military with “information” about IPOB activities and also disregard the group’s unlawful two weeks sit-at-home order.
It vowed to continue collaborating with other security agencies to protect lives and property in the South-east within the ambit of the law and in line with the rules of engagement.
IPOB is leading the agitation for an independent state of Biafra, which it wants carved out from the South-east and some parts of South-south Nigeria.
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