The police in Imo State said they have killed six suspected members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) who attempted to attack the palace of a traditional ruler in the state.
The incident occurred on Monday at about 8 a.m. in Orlu Local Government Area of the state.
The suspects were said to have fired sporadic shots while advancing towards the palace of Emmanuel Okeke, the chairman of the Imo State Traditional Rulers Council.
The police spokesperson in the state, Michael Abattam, who disclosed this in a statement on Monday, said the gunmen were killed during a joint operation with the men of the Nigerian Military.
He said the gunmen engaged the combined team in a shootout as soon as they sighted the security agents.
“In the exchange of gunfire that ensued, the hoodlums were overwhelmed due to superior fire-power of the combined team and in the process, six of the hoodlums were neutralised while others escaped with various degrees of gunshot injuries,” he said.
The spokesperson, however, said the gunmen threw an explosive device at the team, which destroyed one of the vehicles of the combined team.
One pump action gun, three blood-stained cutlasses and three vehicles were among the items recovered during the operation, according to the police.
Mr Abattam said calm has been restored in the area and that the corpses of the gunmen have been deposited in the mortuary.
Attacks by armed men have increased in the South-east in recent times.
The attacks often target security agencies and government facilities.
The Nigerian government has accused IPOB of being responsible for the deadly attacks in the South-east. But the group has repeatedly denied their involvement in the attacks.
The separatist group is leading an agitation for an independent state of Biafra to be carved out from the South-east and some parts of the South-south Nigeria.
Mr Kanu, leader of the group, is expected to appear in court on Wednesday, May 18, for the continuation of his trial.
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