The police in Anambra State have refuted claims that the Eastern Security Network (ESN) has its headquarters in Umunze, a community in Orumba South Local Government Area of the state.
ESN is the militant wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
There had been claims that the militant group has its headquarters in the community and that the police in the state regard the place as a “no-go-area”.
The claim was said to have been attributed to a man who was set free after spending four days in his abductors’ camp.
Tochukwu Ikenga, the police spokesperson in the state, in a statement on Tuesday, described the claim as “mischievous.”
Mr Ikenga, a deputy superintendent of police, said the claim was “false and baseless.”
The police spokesperson recalled that a Forward Operating Base in Aguata Local Government Area of the state had, last month, smashed some IPOB camps in Ogbunka Community near Umunze and rescued three people, including a priest, who were kidnapped.
He said three suspects were arrested while three pump action guns were recovered during the operation.
“So, how can anyone claim the police describe Umunze as a no-go area?” Mr Ikenga said.
The spokesperson said the divisional police headquarters in the Umunze community was “functioning at full capacity” and that the police in the state have continued to discharge their responsibilities to the people in the area.
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“Police are however aware of insurgent activities to the South of Umunze in a neighbouring (Abia) State and collaborative effort is ongoing to root them out of the place,” he said.
The Commissioner of Police in Anambra State, Aderemi Adeoye, has assured residents of the state that their safety remains a priority of the police in the state, Mr Ikenga said.
“This is permanent,” Mr Adeoye said of their responsibility to protect the residents.
IPOB, a group that is leading the agitation for an independent state of Biafra to be carved out from the South-east and some parts of South-south Nigeria, has been linked to some deadly attacks in the two regions.
However, the group has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attacks.
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